James Merritt Buzzard
James Merritt Buzzard, 69, of Nevada, passed away surrounded by his family on Wednesday, April 4.
James “Buzz” was born on Sept. 13, 1948, in Joplin, Mo., to Jack and Jackie (Merritt) Buzzard. He grew up in Quapaw, OK and attended Quapaw High School. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served honorably for four years. During those four years, Buzz worked as a Crew Chief on a C-141. While stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, he met the love of his life, Mary Ann Iorio of Trenton, N.J. They were married on Nov. 22, 1969. They would go on to have three children, James Matthew, Amy Marie and Douglas Michael.
After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Buzz and Mary Ann made their home in Joplin, where he served locally in the Missouri National Guard. In the early 1980s, they lived for a time in Stillwell, Kan., where Buzz began working on high-performance racing engines in his garage. This passion marked the foundation for Buzzard Racing Engines, which he owned and operated until 2014. In 1998 after moving BRE to Walker, Buzz got tired of driving the nine miles to Nevada for lunch every day, so he and his wife opened Buzz’s Mini Market & Deli. Here they served local families, farmers and the after-school crowd. In 1999, Buzz’s BBQ was born with the capacity to serve 22 customers. Now in its current location in Nevada, 210 hungry patrons can dine on the same family recipes. His daughter and her husband will carry on the legacy of Buzz’s BBQ in Jim’s honor.
If Buzz had one hobby, he had them all. He was an avid race car driver, fisherman, hunter, pilot, golfer and storyteller. He was a friend to many and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He will be deeply missed by his large showing of friends and family.
Jim “Buzz” Buzzard was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Jackie. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, of the home; his children, Matt Buzzard and his wife Michelle, of Shawnee, Kan.; Amy Downing and her husband Will, of Nevada; Doug Buzzard and his fiancé Rachel, of St. Louis, Mo.; one sister, Janie Carter, Nashville, Tenn.; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a host of extended family members and treasured friends.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, April 8, at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 9, at First Christian Church in Nevada. Interment with military honors will follow in the Fort Scott National Cemetery in Ft. Scott.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Heartland Hospice, “We will always carry your kindness and compassion in our hearts.” In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Memory of Jim “Buzz” Buzzard in care of Ferry Funeral Home.
You may view obituary and send condolences online at www.ferryfuneralhome.com.