Gary Wayne Buchanan rode off into his final sunset on July 4, 2021. The lifelong horseman, former police officer and police chief, police rodeo champion, rancher, locksmith, husband, father, son, friend, mentor, and protector lost the last of several fights with cancer. He was a fighter, never gave up, and didn’t know the word quit until it wasn’t his choice.
A memorial service will be held for Gary at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 10, 2021 at Memorial Oaks Chapel officiated by Harvey Abke.
If you were fortunate enough to know him, it was clear Gary packed several lifetimes into his 67 years. He was born October 13, 1953 in Shreveport, Louisiana, to former soldier-turned-preacher Robert Buchanan and his wife Sammie. The family left the south with their other son, Grady, and daughter Claudia (Crislip) to build churches in Alaska and then settled in Austin, Texas by the mid-1970s. Gary learned commercial building skills by working with his father but always wanted to follow his dream of becoming a police officer.
He graduated from Austin’s Lanier High School in 1972 and attended Southwest Texas State University on a rodeo scholarship. He went on to graduate from the Austin Police Academy in December,1976 and carved a name for himself during his 17 years on the force. He started Austin’s mounted patrol unit and worked mounted patrol, motorcycle unit, and special assignments. In his free time, Gary pursued his rodeo passion and participated in all events for the police rodeos, winning countless bruises, broken bones, and belt buckles for his efforts – All Around Cowboy in 1982 at the Houston Police Rodeo and All Around Cowboy in 1983 with the Texas Police Officers Rodeo Association (TPORA).
Gary considered himself a Horseman, not a cowboy, because he knew horses. He said he knew nothing about cows.
He left Austin to become the Chief of Police in Ft. Stockton, Texas, where he led the force from 1993 to 1995. He moved on to become Chief of Police in Brenham, Texas, in 1995 and led until his retirement in 2005.
Gifted with a lifelong sense of curiosity, Gary pursued his Bachelor of Science degree from Sul Ross State University and graduated in 1993. A year later he added a Master of Arts degree. Then he became a Certified Public Manager in 1998.
Gary loved helping people in countless ways. With his police service behind him, Gary started Buchanan Locksmith Services as a professional locksmith and gained a reputation as the guy to call, especially in a bind. He continued his education and became certified in all areas of locksmithing.
The Horseman fit the profile and persona of what the rest of us know as a cowboy. He loved spending time on horseback, whether for pleasure or competing, never walked away from a good Western book or movie. He could be found at Cowboy Poetry gatherings and Chuckwagon cookouts, working leather or wood, or admiring the craftsmanship of others.
Known for being real and caring. While he had a big reputation, he had an even bigger heart. He would listen without judging and stay present with whomever he talked with. He was led by his faith and convicted to make the world a better place than he found it. In this he overachieved.
Gary reluctantly left behind a loving wife Stephanie (Monroe) Buchanan, sons Ty Buchanan and Robert Buchanan, mother Sammie Alvern (Smith) Buchanan, brother Grady Buchanan, sister Claudia Crislip, and numerous others in a loving larger family.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Buchanan, Father-in-law, Mark A Monroe, and Mother-in-law, Barbara Monroe.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made in Gary’s memory to Hospice Brazos Valley, the City of Brenham Police Department, or a charity of your choice