Dr. Buehler’s Obituary

Dr. William Wagner Buehler of Tampa, FL, and formerly of Hamilton, MA, passed away early Thursday morning, April 15, 2010 where he resided with his wife, Marlyn Irene Buehler.  Dr. Buehler, born January 5, 1926 in Reading, PA, son of Harold and Rebecca (Wagner) Buehler, passed away peacefully surrounded by family.  Buehler grew up in San Pedro, CA where he graduated from San Pedro High School in 1943. After joining the U.S. Navy, Buehler married his high school sweetheart, Marlyn Irene Gibson, on November 2, 1945. Under a WWII education program Buehler attended Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and finished his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. After WWII he returned to San Pedro, CA, earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Southern California, and owned and operated Coover’s Pharmacy for 11 years.

While working full time, Buehler obtained his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.  In 1960, after completing seminary, Buehler sold his pharmacy and moved his wife and six children to Switzerland where he studied at the University of Basel.  In 1964, Dr. Buehler graduated magna cum laude with the doctor of theology degree, major in New Testament.  He was the last American to defend his doctoral dissertation before Karl Barth.  Dr. Buehler was Professor of Biblical Studies and Department Chair at Barrington College in Barrington, RI, 1964-1981, and Professor of Biblical Studies and Department Chair at Gordon College in Wenham, MA, 1981-1993.  A member of the Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature, Dr. Buehler was named Emeritus Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies by Gordon College in 1994. A distinguished scholar who believed in the healing power of Jesus Christ, Dr. Buehler was passionate about communicating this message to students.  

Dr. Buehler was preceded in death by his only brother, John Harold Buehler and by his son John Harold Buehler, II.  He is survived by a wealth of family including his wife of 65 years, Marlyn Irene, and five children: Susan Harvard (John – deceased) of PA, George Buehler of CA, Marlie Buehler of NY, Rebecca Kohler (Geoffrey) and Laurie Buehler of FL.  He is survived by five grandchildren, two grandsons-in-law, four great grandchildren, and by his sister Mary Buehler Jones (John) of CA, as well.  

A memorial service will be held in Dr. Buehler’s honor on May 22nd at 10:30am at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in Tampa, FL. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Abundant Waters, 400 West 43rd Street, #36G, New York, New York 10036, a not-for-profit after school program for underprivileged children founded and operated by Marlie Buehler.



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29 responses to “Dr. Buehler’s Obituary

  1. Dr Buehler was a brilliant teacher and a flat-out decent guy.

    I was privileged to know him as a family friend, and as a Sunday School teacher. In the early ’80s, I had the fantastic experience of being on a tour of Israel and Greece which he led with another colleague. He made his faith appealing by the way he lived and by the way he articulated theology.

    Rest In Peace~

  2. Dawn E. Rockwell

    Dr. Buehler made going to NT class one of the best parts of my day freshman year at Gordon College (late 80’s). I will pray peace for his family and the Gordon family at large during this time of mourning.

    John 14:6

  3. Kevin Vendt

    One of my favorite Gordon profs. I had him for several NT classes, we once counted how many times he said, “and so on and so forth.” during a semester, it was like 1,000. Well done good and faithful servant.

  4. In my baccalaureate sermon delivered to my Barrington College graduating class ’75 – I said that next to the disciples who had the privilege of sitting at Christ’s feet to learn….I had the next best thing – I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of some of the most remarkable teachers I have ever known. Thirty-five years after sitting in Dr. Buehler’s classes, when I teach a Bible study….lessons I learned from him come pulled out of me for the sake of others. Dr. Buehler marinated me in the Word. What a legacy….what a lover of God’s word….what a teacher…what a child of God! Well done, good and faithful servant.

    I still remember his prayer for us before our final: “Dear Lord, give them the power of total recall. Amen”

    That prayer was answered in the thousands of lives Dr. Buehler touched with God’s love and grace.

  5. James Griffin

    He was a great teacher and a great man. I still tell a few of his stories, particularly the one about “Drunken Hines.”

  6. Starla Ackley

    I am so thankful for Dr. Buehler’s presence in my life. He has been like a father to me for many years and was largely responsible for my choice to attend seminary. I will cherish the many conversations and wise words he spoke to me as well as the memory of he and Marlyn being present at many important life events from birthday parties to funerals and everything in between.

    What a gift he was to the Kingdom of God and to me personally!

    Love you B and will miss you much!!

  7. Kathy Sheys

    One of my favorie prayers, spoken by my friend and Rebbi, Dr. Buehler, at the beginning of a class on Romans: “Thank you God for toilets that flush, for kidneys that work…” Among many other things, he taught me that I didn’t need fancy words or prayers to talk to my Father! Although he denied it, I’m sure he was behind the deposit of several hundred dollars cash in my Gordon mailbox, a loving practical gift which meant so much! Love you Dr. B!

  8. Although, he will always be “Dr. Buehler” to me, he was more like a father. I loved him dearly and was privileged to have him as a friend long after I graduated from Barrington in 1980.

    He helped to marry my wife, Marcia Gammon Eyster, B81, and I just before he left Barrington and we will always have his photos in our wedding album.

    You will always be loved and missed Dr. Buehler.

  9. Ray and Betty Leavitt

    It was a wonderful privilege to know and serve with Dr. Buehler at Barrington College. He was always pleasant and faithfully represented Christ in his daily walk. His leadership on my (Ray) trip to Israel in the early ’80s was a memorable blessing. May the Lord grant his comfort to the Buehler family.

    Lovingly, Ray and Betty Leavitt; Huntersville, NC

  10. Dr. Buehler’s teaching and character have been with me for the past 20 plus years. I have thought of him and his teachings often. For those who were fortunate to have him as their professor and teacher, we loved his powerful honesty, his willingness to question the status quo and proclaim the truth of the scripture. His humor made you laugh and think. Thank you Dr. Buehler for your life, and I trust that you are being well taken care of as you walk with Jesus.
    To his family, I pray that you will receive comfort from the God of all comfort.

  11. Reagan Wicks Mikhail

    Rest in peace, Dr. Buehler. You are impossible to forget–even after about 20 years and only one NT class at Gordon. Way to live.

  12. Toy Jarek-Glidden

    Like so many others, Dr. Buehler had a profound effect on my faith, my understanding of Scripture, and my call. I greatly appreciated all that he did to help make me the kind of pastor I am today. He was an incredible schoalr and professor. It was a priviledge to attend his classes.

  13. Sandra Jones

    I met Bill when I was 18 and came into Coover Pharmacy to see Cleo Jones, who was my husband for 37 years. Bil was a mentor and friend. I so much appreciated his teaching at Rolling Hills Covenant Church and his wisdom and faith throughout the years. I know he is with the Lord, along with my husband. My prayer are with the family.
    In Christ, Sandra

  14. Annelise Madeira Grosser

    I am so thankful for the impact Dr. Buehler had on my teenage years and on my spiritual development. He was the epitome of a committed Christian who was not afraid to think and interact with hard questions. He was also fun to be around, and he and Mrs. Buehler were great hosts to me as the friend of his daughter and for our church youth group. The family will be in my prayers as they adjust to his physical absence.

  15. Dawn Hersey

    I will never forget Dr. Buehler and all I learned in the Bible classes he taught at Barrington College in the 70’s. Through his teaching scripture came alive and meaningful in my life. In the small community of Barrington College, professors like Dr. Buehler took a personal interest in students and became more then our teachers, they became our mentors who lived out the life of Christ for us to emulate. I am grateful to have known you.
    I pray that you family will be comforted in knowing that you “ran the race with perseverance” and are home with Jesus “the author and perfecter or our faith”. Well done thou good and faithful servant!

  16. Jim Clifton

    Bill Buehler made a huge impact on my thinking when he taught our sunday school class at Rolling Hills Covenant Church during several summers in the 70’s. He was not afraid to challenge much of the conservative, fundamental thinking under which I had grown up and did it with humor and great effectiveness. Despite his sometimes brash, in-your-face approach, I sensed a deep humility underneath. I have a couple sets of cassette tapes of his teaching and these are probably the only cassette tapes that I consider worth keeping. If anyone has any recordings of his teaching, I would love to get a hold of them (and I’d be happy to make copies of mine for anyone who wants). We thank God for his life and remember him with gratitude.

    Jim (and Rachel) Clifton

  17. Joe Iriana

    I remember a lot of witty sayings from Dr. Buehler. My favorite was “I think Jesus was a fairly serious guy. I’ve never read “Jesus chuckled and said’ in the Bible”. What a full life he had! I had forgotten that he was a pharmacist. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  18. Susan Chase Jones

    “In what other job would I get to read the Bible every single day!”

    I had never met anyone like Dr. Buehler when I arrived at Barrington College in 1970. He combined such sureness and confidence in Scripture with a down-to-earth humility.
    I soaked up every class he taught and when I left I took something of him with me because through his New Testament survey class, I took Jesus with me. Few people affect the lives they’ve touched more powerfully.
    Can’t wait to see him again!
    Susan (Zanzal) Chase Jones

  19. I remember his wry sense of humor that made his 8 a.m. NT class so enjoyable.

  20. Dr. Westy A.Egmont

    Few men stood as tall. Even when he became ‘Bill’, a friend in moments of reunion, he was Dr. Buehler. Few people have touched my life as deeply, as richly, as graciously. He brought intellect to faith and was unfraid of exhibiting it but always was other directed, to his Lord and his students. His engagment with me in formative years opened worlds, fashioned a view that fostered curiosity and a heuristic approach to the unknown.
    Bill’s walk of faith and commitment to a scholarship that loved teaching more than the research or writing made him the most exceptional professor and guide. As I teach at Boston College, I see him, hear him and thank him.
    Westy ’68

  21. I had Dr. Buehler for only two classes; would that I had taken more! All blessings, comfort, and peace to his whole family and all who loved him. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

  22. Bill Buehler lived the Gospel in today’s language but he prayed in the King James.

  23. Shawn Landry

    Many thanks to Dr. Buehler for the profound effect he had on so many students that were lucky enough to have taken his courses. His uncanny ability to make the scriptures come alive, application to everyday life, and no nonsense approach made us all look forward to his classes. God Bless.

  24. Eric Greaux

    At a pivotal time, Dr. Buehler spoke wise words that permanently affected the course of my life. He reminded me that we do not serve a God who toys with us like puppets on a string; rather, if I would seek him for clear direction, he would show me what to do. I did just that and the following semester – after confirmation from many sources – I changed from Biology to a Biblical & Theological Studies major with the goal of becoming a professor just like Dr. Buehler. He never ceased to encourage me to pursue this career that would bring glory to God and he challenged me to make a contribution to scholarship, especially as an African-American scholar. Over the next three years, I took every one of Dr. Buehler’s classes. As you know, there was something very infectious about his ability to exegete the text and do it in a manner that was informative, engaging, and relevant.

  25. Ellen Lethbridge, 1980B

    Dr. Buehler held a strong presence in my life at Barrington, during a highly formative time of growth. He always challenged to go the extra mile of understanding and application; “know why you believe this…how are you going to defend it?”, undoubtedly enhanced by his experience before Karl Barth. He related to students in a very parental style role, and mentor. There are so many moments I hold dear; Weighing out the pieces of an independent study in Greek…, the bantar with Roger Green, and sometimes Marlyn… The pie mafia – I was in that class, Laurie! Plus, his response to that event in convocation – racing up the bleachers with pie in hand, after you, only to return wearing it himself… The student’s welcome back to Winterim after his emergency surgery on Christmas break. Attending a class in Candia, NH years after college through Ockenga only to be told, “Ellen, you’ve already heard everything I have to say, go home!” The humility of Dr. William Buehler surpassed the norm. He was a very caring individual, with a desire to help and serve, always persevering in life’s trials, with the power of prayer. My prayers are with the family, and am glad Laurie has been and is an advocate in the medical system. My love goes out to all of you.

  26. Robert B. Wassung Jr.

    I’ll never forget how Dr. Buehler defended me (and my theological positions), like a modern day Gamaliel, before the Administration at Barrington in 1974. They had wanted to throw me out on my proverbial over my aversion to the Trinity.

    Bill just laughed and cajoled, spoke firmly and lightly and they finally relented. It allowed me a further step in my studies at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago and finally a masters at McCormick Theo. Sem.

    Without the love of that man (and not coincidently a great deal of direction and guidance) I wouldn’t be the man I am today, nor the engineer!

    I’ll see you soon. He’ll be coming back to get us both.

  27. Timothy E. Enos

    Dr. Buehler was by God’s grace such a wealth of good and godly information. His influence on my theology and my very life* was and continues to be very strong. As flawed as both* persist in being, I cannot imagine how much moreso it would be the case had God not ordained our paths cross as much as they did.

    As I recall it was very difficult to take notes in his classes; he presented in anything but a linear fashion! For me it was generally far better to just sit and listen. Dr. Buehler could fill an entire class with an exposition on any topic, and sometimes did (at the end of which he’d look up from his notes at the clock and dismiss us with a “Oh, just go.”) Though it’s been over twenty years I can still remember conversations we had about things such as the Granville Sharp rule, and how the Church’s aversion to sin (particularly as relates to purity) was so often dissonant from that of the LORD’s.

    I can only imagine the legacy he left for his family as well as all of us who were his students. May some of that legacy carry over to that which I leave for my own precious son.

    In Christ’s name,

    Tim Enos
    Ps 127:3-5

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