Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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May 7, 2014

Buzbee winds down career at PV Church — On the surface, a decade might not seem all that long a tenure for a minister. However, for Tom Buzbee, even getting a chance to spend a decade behind the pulpit at Pauls Valley’s First Presbyterian Church is not making it any easier to say goodbye.

After so many Sundays greeting his congregation here in Garvin County, the decision to retire this summer has been a bittersweet one.

“It was hard, great folks here,” said Buzbee. “This just felt like home.”

Buzbee simply believes it is time and noted how as he gets older, it only makes sense to hand the reins on to a younger leader for the congregation. He’ll be calling in a career sometime in July, though he’s not sure yet when his last Sunday will be.

“It’s just time to move on, ready for another chapter in our lives.” “It gives the church a new opportunity for new blood.”

Ending Buzbee’s journey as a minister here is appropriate as he has always had one tie or another to this region of Oklahoma. That includes going back to being born here at the old hospital in 1943 and finishing here made a great full circle.

Buzbee spent a great deal of his childhood years growing up in Lindsay and one could even say his destiny in ministry was born back then. This is drawn back to his earliest days when his dad was a Baptist minister in Maysville.

Buzbee’s dad later became a Presbyterian minister and his own love was cemented in his travels after graduating high school.

One such stop included a Indian church in northern California here he met wife Maureen and it was in 2004 that he met the congregation and community he has come to love and cherish.

“People used to say I’d follow in my dad’s footsteps,” said Buzbee. “I like people, I think every person has a life story.”

Some of the most cherished memories Buzbee has in his time here are some of the ways he was able to contribute to the community outside of that familiar sanctuary.

He is proud of being able to serve in places like the chamber of commerce board for several years and enjoyed the collaboration between churches that existed through the area ministerial alliance.

Buzbee only hopes that what he has accomplished through his service for God is one that has offered motivation for others to do good things.

As he plans to move to a house they have purchased already in Lake Ozark Missouri, he will miss most the relationships built among people who made him feel like family.

“They loved us and loved our children,” said Buzbee. “You know folks, you know just about everybody.”

Buzbee noted how while he will still be available if needed to fill in or to help in other ministries, he mostly is ready to take it easy. This is not to say they won’t visit as he still has family not too far away like a sister in Norman and a brother in Anadarko.

“Hopefully I’ve been a source of encouragement through the lord, who is our encourager,” said Buzbee.

“You hope you’ve helped in their relationship with God, hope we’ve been a good example.”

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