Former Ojai Valley News owner William Blake “Bill” Buchanan livestream memorial on Saturday, Jan. 29

Obit Buchanan photoWilliam Blake “Bill” Buchanan passed away at UAB Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama, on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, surrounded by family and friends.

Born to William Kittrell and Meredith Blake Buchanan in Fort Payne, Alabama, Bill is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ava Kuchera Buchanan; sister Jane Buchanan Brunson (Jack); brother-in-law Lonnie Kuchera; nephews Rush Brunson (Emily Hoppe) and Ward Brunson (Madison Hill); nieces Blake Sommerkamp (Jared) and Meredith Brunson; great-nieces Rylie Brunson-Hill and Lilliana Brunson-Hill; and great-nephews Rogue Brunson and William Brunson-Hill.

A former Delta Chi and graduate of The University of Alabama, Bill began a lifelong career in journalism in 1976. His work in newspapers led him across the country before ultimately settling with Ava in Tuscaloosa in 1993.

He was owner of the Ojai Valley News and Marion County Newspaper until his departure from the business in 2014. In November of that same year, Bill began a new job with Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports (TTS) and found his truest professional joy.

During his time with TTS, Bill was instrumental in many projects and events. In particular, his recent involvement with the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation was work that brought him immense pride.

He was monumental in the development of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Trail and worked diligently to advocate and highlight the heroes who fought for freedom in Tuscaloosa County.

Committed to the betterment of his community, Bill served on numerous teams, boards, and committees in West Alabama.

An arts advocate, he devoted countless hours to Theatre Tuscaloosa, the Arts Council of West Alabama, and Kentuck Art Center & Festival.

Bill believed in paying forward his good fortune and encouraging those around him. While his professional life and civic duties were priorities, Bill’s love for his family, friends, and pets made his life truly full. He was a man of compassion and humor, gave the best hugs, and never missed an opportunity to share a story. He is and will continue to be missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, January 29, at the historic Bama Theatre, 600 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Visitation will begin at 1:30 p.m., service on the stage at 3 pm.

The event will also be live-streamed on Bill’s Facebook page beginning at 2:45 pm (12:45 pm PST).

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation (PO Box 71103, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35407), Theatre Tuscaloosa Paul and Susan Looney Endowment Fund (9500 Old Greensboro Road, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35405), or the RISE Center (PO Box 870305, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487). 

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