JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
JOHN LESTER BUFORD
John Lester (J.L.) is the youngest (2-25-1898) in a family of six
children - five boys and a girl - born to John Robert and Susan
Hartline Buford. Only the sister, Mrs. Walter E. (Reola) George and J. L.
remain. A brother, O. R., was a Mt. Vernon mayor who led the successful
campaign for City Manager Government in the King City. Dorothy, (Mrs. Buford),
is the eldest (4-20-1907) of three daughters born to Newton Wilson and
Mary Paulina Draper.
J. L. Buford and Dorothy Draper were married August 2. 1928. The
succeeding nine years found them living in Galatia. Eldorado and
Johnson City, where Mr. Buford headed schools. Three children were born to
J. L. and Dorothy during these years. They are Richard Hartline, managing
trustee and chief executive officer of the South Street Seaport
Museum, New York City; Barbara Jane, married to Jack DeChamp, a Mt. Vernon
man, who is a vice president of Biddle Advertising Company, Bloomington, IL.
The DeChamp's two children are Susan and Joseph;
John Philip the third of the Buford children, married Nona Henderson, a Mt.
Vernon schoolmate. They are the parents of Rebecca, Scott and Barbara Sue.
This family lives in Park Ridge, IL, from where John Philip distributes his
patented Recon Silver Saver.
J. L. Buford's career in teaching started at Crossroads, a country
school in Johnson County. It ended 46 years later when he retired as
superintendent of the Mt. Vernon city schools after serving in that
position 27 years. He was awarded the following degrees: B.Ed., SIU,
1928; M.A., U of Mich. 1939; LLD. McKendree College 1944; Illinois
Wesleyan University 1955. Mr. Buford served as president of the
National Education Association in 1955 ad 1956 when it was a great
professional organization. He was a member of U.S. delegations to
meeting of The World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching
Profession in Instanbul 1955, Manila 1956, (chairman) Frankfurt 1957
and Washington 1958. The children having grown up, Dorothy accompanied
her husband to these world meetings, as well as to India.
Other honors listed in Who's Who in America are: President, SIU
Foundation, 1959-1960; recipient of Man of Year Award, Mt. Vernon C. of
C. 1952; Distinguished Service Award SIU 1956; Alumni Award for
"Outstanding Professional Service" 1959; George Foster Peabody Award
for "Conspicuous Service in Broadcasting" 1958; Fulbright lecturer to
India 1959. He has lectured extensively throughout the United States.
An active Methodist, he has served his church in numerous capacities
locally, as well as at the national level. He was president of the Mt.
Vernon YMCA during its most difficult years. He was the first and most
persistent advocate and promoter of the area or community college idea
in southern Illinois. He led movements to organize the Jefferson
County Historical Society (1946) and the King City Dinner Club (1952).
In 1969 he was elected a delegate to the sixth Illinois Constitutional
Convention where he had a part in developing the new 1970 Constitution
under which we now live.
Three additional local honors bestowed on Mr. Buford are:
A Citation by his Board of Education upon his retirement as
Superintendent of Schools, a portion of which reads, "Through Mr.
Buford our schools have been led into national prominence, with its
accompanying interchange of ideas among the educational leaders of our
time. Our teachers under his guidance have been 'Proud to teach'; our
boys and girls have developed pride in work well done."
The naming of a new elementary school The J. L. Buford School.
The Mt. Vernon Rotary Club made him a Paul Harris Fellow in 1975. Mr.
Buford gives credit for whatever success he has had to the strong and
constant support and encouragement given him by his wife, children,
grandchildren and colleagues.
Some ommisions may have occured to protect living individuals.
Source: "Facts and Folks A History of Jefferson County, Illinois"
Jefferson County Historical Society
Printed by Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX Page 104, 105
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer