Frances Ardelia Farrior Buford, 88, died in Greenville, South Carolina, Sunday, November 19, 2006. The widow of William Edwin Buford, she was preceded in death by her brother, Dr. Gilbert Mitchell Farrior, and her parents, John Alexander and Dora Thorne Mitchell Farrior. A lifelong resident of Raleigh, she was born in her parents' home January 28, 1918 and attended Wiley and Fred A. Olds elementary schools before graduating from Needham B. Broughton high school in 1935 and St Mary's junior college in 1937. After attending Hardbarger Business College she worked as a Jill of all trades in an insurance office before taking a position with Carolina Power and Light. She was an accomplished equestrienne, an award-winning tennis player and an enthusiastic ballroom dancer. In April 1941 she married a Kentucky émigré, William Buford, before he was shipped off to the ends of the earth in the Second World War.
The men of her family had served before. Her Mitchell grandfather fought as a cavalry officer in the Civil War with Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson; her great uncle, George Pickett, charged on Lee's orders at Gettysburg; and other relatives died in the same conflict. Her brother served during the Second World War and the Korean War, and, as a scientist, perfected metals during the Cold War and for the space age.
She herself was a fierce fighter against the cancer that almost killed her 60 years ago; and with the blessing of that miracle, she lived each day as a special gift with opportunities of stewardship. As a two-time cancer survivor, she had a passion for comforting those in ill-health whose suffering she well understood. She offered them a healing touch and the communion of food, companionship and comfort in her own personal and special ministry. She was a talented seamstress who, through Fairmont United Methodist Church, literally applied her own understanding of the Sermon on the Mount with needle, thread, and possibly a little blood. Embracing John Wesley's belief that “the world is my parish,” she proffered acts of kindness to those in need, especially children, throughout the earth.
Family was not just a word for her; it was context, commitment, love, celebration and hope. Family were kin, to be sure, and she valued such connections highly, but the texture of her family life was inclusiveness. All persons of good will were welcomed to warm themselves at her hearth; no one remained a stranger, for kith and kin seemed to merge into one. In Culture wars, she was a pacificist. She was the personification of grace, love, and acceptance, whose generosity translated not only into the love of people but also of the arts and history, a passion that she in turn passed on to her family.
Softspoken though she was, she knew how to get things done-and done right! She was president of United Methodist women at Fairmont, member of the Margaret Hooke Bible class and of Circle number seven. She was at one time president of the Raleigh Opti-Mrs Club; and she had been a Girl Scout leader. Many former scouts frequently visited her nearly five decades after first learning to fabricate s'mores. She basked in their affection, and shared with them memories of a Raleigh that few newcomers could conceive. Subdivisions now within the city limits are planted on her father's farm. When her grandfather, David L. Farrior, developed the Wilmont area of Raleigh much of it was in the country beyond the trolley's run but is now an integral part of West Raleigh.
Mrs. Buford is survived by two daughters, Elizabeth Farrior Buford and Marjorie Buford Wilkie and their husbands, Donald G. Mathews and Claude Franklin Wilkie; grandson, Bryan Maxwell Wilkie; granddaughter, Janice Lynn Wilkie Dance and husband Michael James Dance; sister-in-law, Patricia Fowler Farrior; and nieces, Barbara Lynn Farrior Kovalsky, Patricia Ann Farrior, and Marian Louise Farrior; great nephews, Michael Kent Kovalsky and David Joseph Kovalsky. She is survived also by cherished cousins, a host of friends and extended family.
Her funeral will begin 2:00 p.m. Friday, November 24, 2006 at Fairmont United Methodist Church, 2501 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27607; burial will follow at Historic Oakwood Cemetery.
Bryan-Lee Funeral Home, 831 Wake Forest Road, next to the Historic Mordecai House in Raleigh, was open from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
The family received friends at 321 East Lane Street, Raleigh from 4:30 until 6:00 p.m. that same afternoon.
Memorial contributions may be made to Fairmont United Methodist Church, or North Carolina Museum of History Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 25937, Raleigh, NC 27611.
Arrangements by Bryan-Lee Funeral Home, 831 Wake Forest Rd., Raleigh, NC (919) 832-8225.
This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.