A Celebration of the Life of an Incredible Man ~ Buff Rutherford

Photo by Matthew Jonas

“A pine casket with horse shoe handles lovingly built by son and son-in-law. An old wagon that belonged to his grandfather long years ago. A horse with an empty saddle tied behind. Hundreds of people following after through the main street of town as all the bells in all the towers rang out. Perfect send off for such a man. You will be missed, Buff Rutherford” ~ Sage

It still brings tears to my eyes as I sit here writing…
An incredible man admired and loved by many…
The pastor said that Buff’s last words gasped out to him were ~ My suffering is nothing compared to the suffering of my Lord…
Last year I remember Buff being so excited about having all the bells in the little town of Georgetown ringing for New Year’s. He remembered them tolling when he was young…
For more of the story click here.
“One of my favorite people had such a beautiful goodbye today. In a simple coffin built by his sons…..after the service we walked behind the horse drawn wagon carrying him through the little town he has called home all his life while the bells tolled.” ~Tera
As we walked with hundreds of other people behind the wagon that was bought by his father in 1945 and has been restored by the residents of Georgetown, all the bells were ringing throughout the town. It was his last ride through town as he and his wife Mary Lou used to take people on horse drawn tours through town sharing with them the wonderful history of this old mining town. Buff’s horse Andy was tied behind the wagon, saddle empty…lead by his son Bruce…
Summit Lake by Jeremy JDNPIX
Years ago Bruce and and his wife Patty took me and my husband on the hike of a lifetime. To them it was as natural as any old hike ~ for us it was the experience of a lifetime…Starting at Summit Lake we hiked six miles high up in the mount Evans wilderness to a hunting camp right below tree line. Buff and Mary Lou both in their 70’s met us at camp that evening. They had ridden up on horseback with all the tents and supplies and an incredible meal cooked over the campfire. As we slept under the stars, I marveled at this beautiful way of life…The next day we walked another 6 miles and when I got home I was exhausted. After a shower I lay under a blanket shivering, and telling my family what an absolutely incredible hike we had ~ it definitely was one of the highlights of my life, thanks to Buff and Mary Lou and Bruce and Patty.
Bruce grew up in the mountains with his dad ~ to him it is a way of life…to Buff it was a way of life, simple hardy rugged and good…the way life should be…
Although I know that just as everyone else they have had their trials and sorrows… Buff and Mary Lou lost their daughter in an accident when she was young… but they poured out their love to an adopted daughter Mary and Mary’s son and daughter spoke highly of their wonderful grandpa at the service ~ I doubt an eye was dry.
 One of Buff’s hobbies was making horseshoe figures. He was quite the artist…recycling the materials from the life he loved. His brother Bill said he was an excellent farrier. When we visited them a couple of months ago Buff was shoeing his horse at 81 years old with the oxygen along that he always needed to keep breathing, he actually was still shoeing his own horse. I was amazed.
He lived a good life, a full life…we will all miss him… Georgetown will not be the same without him…his very unique voice as he told stories of the history of the town; his incredible memory and his way of reciting cowboy poetry that kept you spell bound.
Buff’s sister Jean who preceded him in death by only two and a half months wrote a great book about their lives as children, The Colorado Whoopenhollars, telling the story of life during the Depression in the little mining town of Georgetown, Colorado. If you are interested in purchasing the book you can find it here.
More important than anything Buff loved people, and you could feel it… and we will miss that love that he gave…I’m glad that I could be one of the many who knew and loved him and walked behind the wagon on his last ride.

Happy Trails, Buff, ‘til we meet again…

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