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Longtime Catawba Professor and Chair of Biology Dies

October 14, 2015

Category: Biology, Faculty


buxton02.jpgDr. Jay Buxton, a longtime professor and chair of biology at Catawba, died Tuesday, Oct. 13 in Hartford, Conn.

Born in Carrara, Italy in 1919, he was a graduate of Southwestern Texas State College, and earned his doctorate in Biology from The Ohio State University, pursuing doctoral studies in the Melanpolus differentialis, or the grasshopper. He joined the Catawba faculty in 1967 and served for 20 years until his retirement in 1987. For 19 of his years at Catawba, he served as Chair of the Biology Department.

Prior to joining Catawba, he taught at Clemson University and Texas Arts & Industries University.  He often said, “Working with students has been my life,” and “teaching has been my greatest satisfaction.”  In 1987, he noted his former pupils accomplishments: 26 former students who became physicians; 26, medical technologists; six, physician’s assistants; 10, chiropractors; two, dentists; four, pharmacists; 10 who earned Ph.D. degrees and of those 10, four who chair departments in major universities; and one college president.

The Department of Biology and the Catawba College chapter of the Tri Beta Biological Honor Society have a medal named in Honor of Dr. Buxton (and Dr. Michael Baranski), called the "Buxton and Baranski Biological Honors Medal." This is awarded to Tri Beta Members that do a substantial research project and present it at a regional or national conference, exemplifying the mission of Tri Beta. Recipients wear the bronze medals, secured with a green ribbon, at Catawba's commencement ceremony. 

He was predeceased by his first wife, Audrey Kennedy Buxton, in 1972.  Survivors include his second wife, Elda; three children, Becky, Cindy and Tex; and stepdaughters, Jennifer and Priscilla.

The Memorial Service for Dr. Buxton will be on Sunday, November 8 at the First United Methodist Church at 217 South Church Street in Salisbury. A reception will take place at 1:30pm, followed by a 3:00pm Memorial service.