After a yearlong battle with lung cancer, Edward Van Buren died peacefully on April 4th, 2014 surrounded by family and friends at Haven Hospice. Born in Butler Pennsylvania, he was a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Edward is survived by his wife of 21 years, Victoria F. Van Buren, his son, Army Sgt Benjamin John Van Buren, daughter-in-law USAF SSgt Desiree Rose Van Buren and his grand daughter Emily Marie Van Buren. His wife, Victoria is an Air Force Reserve and civil service retiree currently serving as the Commander of the American Legion Post 16 in Gainesville FL.
Edward is preceded in death by his first wife Rebecca Van Buren (mother to Benjamin), father Edward Leonard Van Buren and his mother Ruth Shaffer Van Buren.
Edward proudly said he was an Army soldier, a son of a soldier and the father of a soldier. He served in the Army from July 1969 to June 1971 as a computer technician. His last assignment was at Camp Casey South Korea with the 2nd ID unit. In less than two years in the Army Edward achieved the rank of Specialist 5. He received the Army Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary, Presidential Unit Citation, Army Meritorious Unit Citation, Army Good Conduct and National Defense Medals.
After his honorable discharge from the Army, Edward returned to government service and continued a long career in computer support. He retired in February 2005 as a GS-15 (Colonel Equivalent) with over 35 years of government service. He received numerous Outstanding Performance Awards throughout his civil service career. His final assignment was as the Director of Information Technology for the General Services Administration Inspector General in Washington D.C.
Edward and Victoria moved to Gainesville FL from Northern Virginia in June 2005 to be closer to family. He enjoyed helping family members with home repairs and renovation projects. In 2007, Edward became the Commander of the American Legion Post 16 after the sudden death of the previous commander. He held that position until June 2011. While Commander, he made numerous improvements to the facility and doubled the post membership. He loved to conduct and sing Karaoke on Friday nights. He also served as the American Legion 4th District Judge Advocate. In Jan 2009 Ed was awarded the Alachua County Veteran of the Year award. In June 2013 he became the American Legion Post 16 Finance Officer and a member of the Executive Committee when his wife was voted in as the new Post Commander. He was also the Chaplain of the American Legion Riders Chapter 16, the Conductor of the American Legion Honor Society the Forty and Eight, and a member of the Korean War Veterans Association.
In addition to serving as an officer of the American Legion, Edward served on the Board of Directors for Vetspace from 2007 to 2013 helping veterans transition from addiction to productive lifestyles. He participated in many Homeless Stand Downs helping homeless veterans obtain essential basic services.
Edward was selected by the Alachua County Commission to serve on the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board, serving as the Chairman for this last year. He helped organize numerous veteran events like Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the Annual Veterans Award Banquets. Everyone looked forward to his singing at Memorial Day which was held each year at Forest Meadows East Cemetery.
When the Gainesville Fisher House president approached the American Legion for their fundraising support to build a new Fisher House next to the VA Hospital in Gainesville, Edward took the challenge head on with determination and passion. Through his efforts the Department of Florida American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary took on the challenge to also help raise monies for the building of the Fisher House. Because of his passion, he was later asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the Gainesville Fisher House. At the recent Fisher House Golf and Gala fundraiser, Edward was honored by Gainesville Mayor Edward Braddy with a proclamation declaring April 6th, 2014 as Ed Van Buren Day. The Gainesville Fisher House also presented his wife and son with a soaring eagle statue in recognition of Edward’s support of the Gainesville Fisher House. Lastly, a new veteran bridge scholarship fund at Santa Fe College is being created in his name.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Gainesville Fisher House at the following website: www.gainesvillefisherhouse.org/, or Gainesville Fisher House Foundations, P.O. Box 358296, Gainesville, FL 32635.
A special patriotic memorial service will be held at the Gainesville Country Club at 7300 S.W. 35th Way, Gainesville, FL on April 26th 2014 from 1:00 PM to 5:00PM. Honor Edward by wearing your red, white and blue!