Historical Figures Salute

Rachel Carson
May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964

Rachel CarsonBorn in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Rachel Carson was a writer, scientist and ecologist. A graduate of Chatham College in 1929, she received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.

While writing radio scripts for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, she began to write articles and books, including her prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us, in 1952.

Carson was greatly disturbed by the use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II and began writing of the long-term effects of pesticide misuse. In 1962’s Silent Spring, she challenged current practices, advocating for a change in how humans view the natural world.

She died in 1964 after a long battle with breast cancer, leaving behind a legacy of environmental advocacy.

In honor of Ms. Carson, Buch Funeral Home encourages you to take a moment to appreciate the natural wonders around you.

Click on the links below to learn more about Rachel Carson’s contributions to the environment.
Rachel Carson Website
Rachel Carson Council

Mary Cassatt
May 22, 1844 - June 14, 1926

Mary CassattMary Cassatt, world renowned, impressionist painter was born in Pittsburgh, PA. She spent most of her life in France, after finding little satisfaction as a female artist in the U.S.

Under the mentorship and friendship of Edgar Degas, she honed her craft, focusing on paintings and pastels; many with a mother and child theme, which featured her family members. Later, she became an advisor to many art collectors in the U.S., including the Havemeyer collection, which is housed in the Metropolitan Museum.

Her paintings have sold for as much as $2.5 million. In her later years, blindness, caused by diabetes, robbed Cassatt of the ability to paint. Buch Funeral Home encourages everyone to open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds us every day.

Learn more about Mary Cassatt

Barney Ewell
February 25, 1918- April 4, 1996

Barney Ewell, one of the world’s leading sprinters of the 1940’s, was born in Harrisburg, PA. During his primary school years, he moved to Lancaster and graduated from John Pierson McCaskey High School.

Ewell attended Penn State where he won 12 gold medals and championships in collegiate meets between 1940 and 1942. He then went on to serve his country from 1941-1945. Once he returned, he received his bachelor’s degree in 1947. In 1948, Ewell made the Olympic team and won his first Olympic gold medal in the 4 x 100 relay, making him the only Lancaster resident to win a gold medal.

Ewell passed away on April 4, 1996 due to complications from surgery. McCaskey High School honored Ewell by dedicating their stadium in his name.


Stephen Collins Foster
July 4, 1826 – January 13, 1864

Stephen FosterStephen Foster, known as the father of American music, was born in Lawrenceville, PA. After his formal education, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to work as a bookkeeper with a steamship company. While there, he wrote his first successful songs, including "Oh! Susanna."

He returned to Pennsylvania to work with the Christy Minstrels, while adding to titles like "Beautiful Dreamer", "Camptown Races" and "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" to America’s songbook. His innovative attempts to make a living as a professional songwriter were thwarted by the weak copyright laws of his time. He was eventually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

He died in New York City on January 13th, with little more than a worn leather wallet containing a scrap of paper that read, "Dear friends and gentle hearts." Buch Funeral Home respectfully invites admirers of Stephen Foster to sing, hum or play one of his songs today.

Click on the links below to celebrate the life and songs of Stephen Foster.
Complete listing of Stephen Foster songs
PBS-TV – American Experience show on Stephen Foster
Songwriters Hall of Fame


Robert Fulton
November 14, 1765 – February 24, 1815

Robert Fulton, best known for developing the first commercially successful steamboat, was born in Southeastern Lancaster County. At a young age he took up an interest in art and decided to travel to England to study painting.

In England, he began his career as a painter with minimal success, leading him to his true calling as an engineer. The first successful project he completed was a double inclined plane system to replace the locks on a canal system.

In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the first practical submarine, the Nautilus. He was also credited for inventing some of the world’s earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Royal Navy.

Upon returning to New York in 1803, Fulton designed and launched the Clermont, a steam-powered vessel with a speed of nearly five miles per hour. In the following years, he designed the first steam powered war ship for the United States Navy.

Before his death in 1814, Fulton found the recognition that he was searching for. His persistence and belief in his inventions helped steamboats to become a major source of transportation on the rivers in the United States.

Learn more about Robert Fulton


Billie Holiday
April 7, 1915-July 17, 1959

Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was born in Philadelphia. She was an African American jazz singer and songwriter who was admired for her deeply personal and intimate approach to singing.

Billie Holiday began her career by singing in nightclubs in Harlem, where she was heard by producer John Hammond. She then later signed a recording contract with Brunswick Records, which resulted in her mainstream success. Her vocal style was unique and pioneered a new way of song phrasing and tempo.

Throughout her life, Holiday struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, which eventually lead to her death at the young age of 44.Following her death, a posthumous album, Last Recording, was released. She is the recipient of four Grammy awards, all of them posthumous awards for Best Historical Album. In 1973, she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Learn more about Billie Holiday


Gene Kelly
August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996

Gene KellyA native of Pittsburgh, Gene Kelly was a dancer, choreographer and actor who changed the perception of male dancers with his energetic and athletic performances in some of America’s most beloved movie musicals.

Kelly started out as a dance teacher in Pittsburgh and worked his way onto the Broadway stage in 1938. By 1942, he had debuted in his first movie alongside Judy Garland in For Me and My Gal.

During his career, he starred in many movies including the ground breaking Anchors Aweigh, where he was the first human ever to perform next to an animated character and his most famous role of Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain. Buch Funeral Home reminds you to keep a bounce in your step and a song in your heart.

Learn more about Gene Kelly


Jack Klugman
April 27, 1922- December 24, 2012

Jack Klugman was born in Philadelphia to Russian Jewish immigrants. He was a versatile character actor who appeared on Broadway and in television.

Klugman began his acting career after serving in the United States Army during World War II. He made his television debut in an episode of Actors Studio. He later stared in several classic films including 12 Angry Men and Days of Wine and Roses.

During his career, he starred in many movies and TV series but the two he is best known for are his roles as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and as the medical examiner on Quincy M.E. He played many characters that portrayed the everyman, which many viewers could easily relate to.

Learn more about Jack Klugman


Jackie Robinson
January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972

Jackie Robinson began his ten-year baseball career by breaking the sport’s color barrier in 1947 when he joined the starting lineup of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

As the first African American to play in the majors, Robinson’s illustrious career included being named Rookie of the Year, playing in six consecutive All-Star Games, winning a World Series title and being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Later, he because the first black television analyst in Major League Baseball.

His legacy is celebrated every April 15, when all players on MLB teams wear his retired number 42 in his honor.

Buch Funeral Home suggests you celebrate summer by taking someone “out to the ballgame.”

Click on the links below to learn more about Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson Website


Jonas Salk
October 28, 1914 – June 23, 1995

Jonas SalkDr. Jonas Salk was a physician and medical researcher credited with discovering and developing the first safe and effective vaccine for polio, while working at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Salk’s ambitious research over a seven-year period heralded him as a miracle worker when the success of his vaccine was released in 1952. Later, he founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California where he spent his life researching and writing. His last years were spent searching for a vaccine for HIV.

In 2015, Salk will be featured on a one-dollar U.S. coin honoring the March of Dimes.

Buch Funeral Home asks you to visit endpolionow.org for to learn more about permanently eliminating the polio virus.


James “Jimmy” Stewart
May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997

Jimmy StewartJimmy Stewart, one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors, was born the son of a hardware store owner in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Many credit his humble beginnings with his on-screen success as a likeable everyman.

Stewart made more than 80 films during his fifty-year career, including three collaborations with Frank Capra, You Can’t Take it With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).

He took a break from his acting career from 1941 to 1946 to serve his country in World War II and retired from U.S. Air Force Reserve in 1959 as a brigadier general. Stewart and his wife Gloria were married for 45 years and had twin daughters.

The Jimmy Stewart Museum opened in the mid-1990’s in Indiana, Pennsylvania, featuring a variety of movie and personal memorabilia. Buch Funeral Home encourages you to appreciate your wonderful life.

Click on the links below to learn more about Jimmy Stewart and his life in films.
Jimmy Stewart Museum
New York Times - On This Day
International Movie Database

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