Rotary honors trio’s legacies

Published 9:12 pm Monday, November 5, 2012


The Washington Rotary Club honored the memories and legacies of Eddie Buckman, Zeno Edwards Jr. and Jeff Tubaugh with the dedication of a live oak Thursday evening at Washington’s First United Methodist Church.
At the conclusion of the brief dedication ceremony, the men’s widows — Etta Buckman, Rosemarie Edwards and Shelley Tubaugh — unveiled a plaque located by the live oak. The dedication was attended by the men’s families, fellow Rotarians and friends — about 40 people.
The three men, former presidents of the Washington Rotary Club and members of the church, died within months of one another. All were Paul Harris Fellows, a distinguished designation among Rotarians.
“We are here to honor the memory and legacy of three incredible men who meant so much to all of us, individually and collectively. … As a club, we wanted to do something to honor their memory,” said Rotarian Brownie Futrell during his keynote remarks about the three men, telling anecdotes about Buckman, Edwards and Tubaugh.
Futrell recalled that Buckman used to lead the singing at club meetings, even if the singing was off-key.
“When I first joined Rotary, Eddie Buck was the song leader, and we would sing two or three songs every meeting,” he said. “The format has changed, but one thing hasn’t changed — we were as bad then as we are now.”
Futrell recalled how Buckman carried a positive attitude with him and was enthusiastic about the club’s “awful singing.” As he got older, Futrell said, he realized it wasn’t about the singing, but it was about the opportunity to come together in fellowship and camaraderie with each other.
“Eddie Buck gave us the gift of song. For that, we are grateful,” Futrell said.
Edwards was remembered as a dentist, state legislator and Duke graduate.
Futrell recounted the story of Edwards working in his office and receiving a telephone call.
“Zeno, you won’t believe this …I’m pregnant,” said the caller.
“Who is this?” Edwards responded, according to Futrell.
The caller was his wife, Rose Marie, informing him that she had conceived their son, Seth, during a Rotary convention in Washington state.
“No one here can think of Zeno Edwards without smiling. If Eddie Buck gave us the gift of song, then surely Zeno gave us the gift of laughter, and for that we are grateful,” Futrell said.
Soon after Tubaugh joined Rotary, Futrell noted, he asked what he could do to help with the club’s annual oyster roast. Almost every detail had been taken care of, recalled Futrell, who was in charge of the event. Finally, Futrell recalled, there was something for Tubaugh to do — bring the crackers for the oyster roast.
“Let me tell you, Jeff Tubaugh brought the crackers. I think he brought the equivalent of a tractor-trailer load full of crackers that night. At the end of the evening, we gave out boxes and boxes of saltines,” Futrell said.
Tubaugh died after a six-year battle with melanoma.
“We all know Jeff’s life story and the struggles he had in the last month’s of his life. If Eddie Buck gave us the gift of song and Zeno gave us the gift of laughter, then Jeff surely gave us the gift of courage, and that’s important for all of us,” Futrell said.
Futrell said Buckman, Edwards and Tubaugh embodied Rotary’s motto: Service above self.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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