Lyn Simmons Buxton

Marilyn Schaar Simmons Buxton

January 5, 1945 – May 3, 2011
“I met her in August of 1963 in the hotel on Main Street. She was full of life and love and she never changed all the way until we lost her in 2011. I'll bet she is just the same in heaven.”
– Sunday Hammett Wynkoop

Marilyn Schaar began life on January 5, 1945, in Baltimore, MD, daughter of the late Spedden and Dottie Schaar. She spent her school years in the small family home in Riviera Beach on the banks of Stoney Creek and enjoyed being in or on the water. She had the best of Maryland seafood and sought it ever after! Her love for people began with her family - her parents and one brother and her grandparents in Catonsville- and they meant the world to her. Throughout her life, Lyn found people to love and pulled them into an extended family.

Life was one big adventure to Lyn, from the shores of Stoney Creek to the world literally. She was an elementary education major at Frostburg State University and was headed to the classroom after college, but it was clear even then that she had a head for business and managing things. On top of that she was artistic as well. She took over as Editor of The Nemacolin, the annual yearbook. Membership in Alpha Xi Delta National Women’s Fraternity gave Lyn the sisters she never had. Early in her career, she taught elementary school in Anne Arundel County, MD, married Lou Simmons, a friend from high school days. Soon she discovered that she liked creating new programs like learning centers and developing teaching materials and techniques better than being in the classroom and through some professional contacts during graduate work for a Ph.D., landed a job with the Kettering Foundation’s educational division in Dayton, OH, as a consultant. She soon left both the marriage and the classroom behind and began over 5 years of travel to deliver programs and train educators all over the United States, South America, and Africa. She was often working with national leaders in education. She took advantage of every opportunity to see and do new things and photographed much of what she saw, while never failing to return home for important times with her family, especially beach time in Ocean City. From those days on, Lyn loved travel and adventure the rest of her life. As Kettering’s educational work direction changed, her role ended and she pursued work in Dayton. By that time, she had met and attached herself to Dan Buxton, the man who taught her how to put more fun into her life, by her own pronouncement. She went to work in the Human Resources Department of Dayton Power and Light. Her work was in management development and training. Lyn wrote the first Affirmative Action Plan for the company and implemented it, one of her proudest accomplishments. Lyn also served in public affairs and customer service departments. Then she was recruited for a management job by the company that became Lexis Nexis, a repository for digital information for lawyers. She took courses to learn about computers. Eventually she needed a new creative outlet and learned to do calligraphy. When the job with the tech company was phased out, Lyn became the co-owner of Bearfoot Creations, an outlet for local crafters and artists, located in the Dayton Mall. She called herself a self-employed entrepreneur.

About that time she was intrigued by class reunion invitations to return to FSU; finally for the 30th Reunion of the Class of 1967, she did make the trip and roomed once again with Sandy (Priebe) Day. She renewed relationships rather quickly with other dorm mates from Diehl Hall - Ruth Schunk Baumgardner, Linda Dahl Graham, and Sunday Hammett Wynkoop; and with numerous other FSU alumni and sorority sisters which led to many trips to Maryland for FSU events and activities with the Chesapeake Alumnae Association of Alpha Xi Delta. She shared with Sandy a new experience, The National Christian Choir. Though she could never carry a tune and had to lip-sync her way through Greek Sing in college, she grew to love being around music and sharing in Sandy’s experience with the Choir. Lyn and Dan married in the late 90’s after a lot of adventures. Her last job at Click Camera helped her hobby with photography move on with new equipment and supplies at a discount. Photography became an extension of her as a person….it captured the sights surrounding her adventures, it captured the images of those she cared for and loved best, it preserved for the generations behind her what her life had been, where and what and who were part of it.

It became apparent in 2008 that Lyn’s health was not good and she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Like everything else she encountered, she studied and researched this disease in order to make the most of life as it became different. She continued her travels with Dan and activities in both Ohio and Maryland, eventually with oxygen tank in tow, and began an autobiography….a record of family history and hers primarily for her niece and nephew and their children, her only family besides the many good friends she had cultivated.

Having been fiercely independent all of her life, Lyn struggled to hang on to that in her remaining 3 years. Through it all, she remained “fun, bright, talented and feisty….a great photographer….a truly loyal and constant friend…..about as strong a woman as (we) have ever known…” in the words of Ralph Jordan about her. Linda Dahl Graham wrote to me, “Her MANY talents touched so many lives. We are all fortunate for having her in our lives…even if we think the time was too short. Only the Lord knows why her life was just 66 years long…66 exemplary years!!!”

One week during those last months, Lyn wrote this in an email to some of us:

“One of the most beautiful roads in Alaska is the Denali Highway. It is 135 miles of dirt, dust, gravel and potholes and is best driven at 16 MPH. The scenery is outstanding and worth every bump in the road. It took 5 hours or so on our last trip to get across the bad parts to find smooth black top. Just as we thought we were home free on this nice new section, we had a flat tire!

Life can throw it at you but I'm convinced that the journey is well worth the pot holes along the way, especially with such supportive friends as you!!”

We four friends continue to meet and spend time as we did when Lyn was with us. We remember her always….and we honor her memory here at FSU, where we all began together… With love, Ruth Baumgardner, Sandy Day, Linda Graham, Sunday Wynkoop

From “Keeper,” sent out by Lyn to a few she considered keepers just a few month before she left us:

“…Some things we keep. Like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special ... And so, we keep them close in heart and mind and spirit….”