Age: 85 Address: Burnsville Date of Death: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Arrangements: Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home
Details: Dorothy Henshaw Buker passed away peacefully at her home in Burnsville, North Carolina on January 30, 2013 after a brief battle with cancer. She was 85. Born September 26, 1927 in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of Arthur and Ethel Henshaw, she was two when the family moved to Miami where “Dottie” grew up and spent most of her life. She liked to say she grew up in the depression but never knew she was poor, and that she was the luckiest gal alive.
After graduating from Miami’s Andrew Jackson High in 1945, Dottie entered the Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee (now Florida State University). After a year at Florida State, Dottie and a couple of her high school girl friends transferred to the Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William & Mary in Virginia (now part of Virginia Commonwealth University) where she subsequently graduated with a degree in design.
In 1950 Dottie married Charles E. Buker, Jr., a 1944 graduate of Jackson High School, who was then attending the University of Miami Law School. Together they had three boys and were married almost 50 years until Charlie passed away in 2000. Charlie and Dottie had a wonderful and full life, raising their boys, traveling the country by motor home and playing tennis at the Royal Palm Tennis Club in Miami (of which they were founding members). Charlie was a banker, and he and Dottie attended many banking conventions over the years, at which Dottie would, in stark contrast to the staid and stuffy reputation of the banking industry, often read the palms of fellow bank executives and convention goers. They were a colorful pair.
Dottie was happy, independent, fearless and inexhaustibly energetic. She loved life and lived it to the fullest, adding joy and sunshine to the many whose lives she touched. There was no task she wouldn’t tackle, and she was afraid of little - if she saw a snake, she ran … to get the shovel so she could immediately eliminate it!
Dottie was also athletic. At 14 she was on the cover of the photo section of the Miami Herald as the pre-tournament favorite to win the Girls division of the City of Miami Archery Championship. She finished second. She learned to play tennis in her mid 30s and was still playing at age 80, with a den full of trophies in her home. She was an avid member of the Burnsville “Exercise Mafia”, regularly attending the weekly get togethers until shortly before her death.
Dottie and Charlie bought property in Burnsville, North Carolina in the early 1980’s and began a new and what turned out to be fulfilling chapter of their lives. In their retirement years, they embraced Burnsville, joining their many friends from Florida who had also located there and making new friends within the local community. After Charlie passed away in 2000, Dottie became even more involved in the community, earning the Planning and Economic Development Commission’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001. The public service recognitions of which she is most proud, however, came just in the past 15 months, after her 84th birthday: Grand Marshall of the Burnsville Christmas parade, Yancey County Volunteer of the Year, and recipient of the Yancey County Outstanding Achievement Award for Citizenship. Dottie volunteered for many years at the annual Burnsville (Mt Mitchell) Crafts Fair and devoted countless hours to the annual Humane Society Flea Market. She was on numerous town committees associated with beautifying and promoting Burnsville. Dottie often said how much she loved Burnsville and its people and how well everyone treated her. She bragged about Burnsville’s accomplishments regularly.
Dottie loved her garden. Her voicemail chimed, “I can’t answer the phone right now as I am probably out in the garden.” Dottie parlayed her love of flowers and gardening into her bent for public service, helping design the landscape for the historic Yancey County Library (aka Yancey Collegiate Institute) and personally planting bulbs and flowers all around the Burnsville town square this past fall.
Dottie’s most recent holiday card remarked how she was the luckiest girl in the world, struck by lightning when she married Charlie and then struck by lightning a second time after Charlie died when she met her beloved companion of the last 12 years, Ken Hoke. Together Ken and Dottie decorated and put the finishing touches on Ken’s lovely log home out near Mt Mitchell. They were completely devoted to each other, traveling abroad, working on local projects, entertaining friends and family and facing life’s challenges, always at each other’s side.
Dottie is survived by her devoted companion Kenneth Hoke of Burnsville, brother Robert Henshaw of Boiling Springs, SC, brother Donald Henshaw and his wife Shirley of Burnsville, NC, son Charles III (Chuck) of Atlanta, his wife Margaret and their children Charles and Meg, son Terrance Arthur (Terry) of Ft Lauderdale, his wife Valerie and their children Kelley and Dustin, son Gregory Willis (Greg) of Port St. Lucie, Fl, and his son Gregory, Jr. (GJ), along with numerous nephews and cousins.
Dottie was predeceased by her mother Ethel Levoy Henshaw Buehler, her father Arthur Henshaw and her husband of nearly 50 years, Charles E. (Charlie) Buker, Jr.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of this wonderful mother, wife, companion, friend, volunteer and citizen will be held this summer in Burnsville at a date and location to be later announced.
In lieu of flowers, Dottie asked that donations be made to Yancey County Hospice (856 George’s Fork Rd, Burnsville, NC 28714), a blessing to Dottie and her family in her final days.