Claremore Daily Progress

December 17, 2013

Buford E. Wester

Staff Reports
Claremore Progress

CLAREMORE — Services for Buford E. Wester will be 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec., 18, 2013 at Sequoyah Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Oakhaven Memorial Gardens under the direction of Rice Funeral Service. Visitation will be today from 1-7 at the funeral home with family receiving visitors from 5-7 p.m.

Born Sept. 8, 1925, in Caddo County Oklahoma to Louie and Mary (Jones) Wester, Buford Wester took his first great journey in 1929 by Conestoga Wagon pulled by mules to Weleetka Oklahoma.

His parents, tenant farmers, were exceedingly poor people in a state and time of great poverty. What they lacked in material goods they made up for with a wealth of riches in their good humor and love. Buford cared for his siblings from a young age and carried some of the responsibility in those hard times to provide for the growing family. He left school after fifth grade to haul watermelons to earn money for feeding his brothers and sisters, returning to school a year later to finish his formal education in the sixth grade. Buford, the oldest of the nine children was the clan's secondary father figure. The family stayed closely bonded throughout their adult lives.

Buford was inducted into the army in September of 1943 to the 242nd Rainbow Division and was sent to France on Dec. 19, 1944. His patrol was surrounded by German tanks outside of Hatten, France and he was captured by German forces on January 8, 1945.

General George Patton's forces released him from German Prisoner of War camp on April 12, 1945. Buford lost sixty pounds in 96 days on his diet of grass soup. Buford was highly decorated for his military service, including the Bronze Star.

May of 1955, Buford married Virginia Ferrell. They had two children, Kaye and Brian, for whom they worked hard to provide with a loving home and every advantage. Buford would attend all events, practices, and games of his children and give them his full support and love. He was employed by DX/Sun Oil for thirty years as a machinist first class. He retired, and married Imogene Ragsdale on March 12, 1988. Not a man to sit idle, Buford started work for Melton's Dodge in Claremore where he would work for twenty-three years. He loved Imogene's adult children, Danny and Marilynn and grandchildren as his own, his first and second families blending seamlessly, bonded by their affection for this great man and Imogene.

Buford was a man of incredible physical strength and ability that was tempered by gentleness of heart and soul. His hands were huge and rough and calloused as hands will be from pulling large wrenches all day. His smile and humor were quick and his wisdom, uncommon and deep.

Buford's son-in-law, Paul Hayes earned much love and admiration for his caring for Buford and Imogene in the last two years.

Buford left this world on Dec. 15, 2013. He was 88. His life was exceptionally lived and will be celebrated by all who knew him. Loving him was a very easy thing to do, living without him will be a great challenge for us. Buford is survived by his wife Imogene; children Kaye Wester-Hayes and husband Paul, Brian Wester, Danny Ragsdale and wife Terri, Marilynn Lewis; grandchildren Heath and Tyler Ragsdale, Sarah and Natalie Lewis; five great grandchildren Trace, Kai, Nash, George and Colt Ragsdale; siblings Louie Claybourne, Jeanette Carden, Laura Dunley, Wanda Williams, Edna Tatum, Joe Wester, and David Wester; numerous nieces and nephews. Buford is preceded in death by his parents, brother John and wife of 30 years, Virginia.