June Buchanan, Appalachian Education Pioneer, Dies
PIPPA PASSES, Ky. (AP) _ June Buchanan, an education pioneer who co-founded Alice Lloyd College in the 1920s and was mayor of this remote Appalachian Mountain valley town, died 21 days short of her 101st birthday.
Ms. Buchanan died of natural causes Tuesday at Our Lady of the Way Hospital in Martin, according to college spokesman James Silliman Jr. She had been hospitalized recently for pneumonia, Silliman said.
Ms. Buchanan, who lived on campus and was known as ″Miss June″ by students and faculty, was to be buried this afternoon on a hill overlooking the college, beside co-founder Alice Lloyd, said school President Jerry C. Davis.
″She was a living legend,″ said Davis. ″You don’t replace a June Buchanan or an Alice Lloyd.″
Davis said he believed Ms. Buchanan was the last surviving member of a group of education pioneers who set up some of eastern Kentucky’s first schools after the turn of the century.
The Syracuse, N.Y., native arrived in Pippa Passes in 1919 to take on the monumental task of educating a largely illiterate and isolated mountain population.
Ms. Lloyd had arrived from Boston in 1916 and began operating the school out of a one-room shack in 1916. The two women founded a two-year college program at the Caney Creek Community Center in 1923. Ms. Lloyd died in 1962.
Ms. Buchanan oversaw the school’s transition to a four-year private college in 1981. Last year, Alice Lloyd College reported an enrollment of 530.
Ms. Buchanan often paid college staff members out of her own pocket when the school’s funds ran low, said Silliman.
She remained active in raising funds for the college until about a year ago, when health problems limited her activities. At the time of her death, Ms. Buchanan was a member of the board of trustees and mayor of Pippa Passes, which has about 400 residents.
She is featured in a music video and docudrama about the college’s origins called ″Miracle on Caney Creek,″ which is to be distributed this fall to schools across Kentucky and eventually around the nation.
Ms. Buchanan is survived by a sister, Cherry Buchanan Thompson of Syracuse. Her husband, David H. Hall of Hindman, died 14 years ago.