Whitman Voices


Orange Family Legacy: Ninety-Five Years and 20 Buhrmaster Alums

Orange Family Legacy: Ninety-Five Years and 20 Buhrmaster Alums

My grandmother Flower Sheldon Buhrmaster ‘37 had her 100th birthday this past February! As we sat together that day leafing through some old photos, we came upon a picture of Archibold stadium. She said to me, “no one will know how much that place means to me,” referring to Syracuse University. At that moment, it became clear to me how much Syracuse University has meant to not just my grandmother but to our entire family.

When Neil Buhrmaster started his freshman year in the fall of 1921, who would have imagined that 20 members of our family would end up with Syracuse University degrees?  What began as an easy decision for a young Methodist to attend a nearby Methodist college became a family legacy when Neil’s younger brother Ken ‘37 would begin dating classmate, Flower, to initiate the parade of generations of SU graduates (and SU marriages).  Our family’s destiny has always been tied tightly to Syracuse. My grandparents met here, my parents, Lou ’61 and Margaret Burch ’61, met here, and my wife, Leslie Jones ‘M86, and I met while working at Booth Hall. Now our daughter, Amanda ’19, is the first of the fourth generation of Buhrmasters to wear orange.

I have so many fond memories of Syracuse visits with my grandparents, parents and in-laws, and now Leslie and I are blessed to be able to create many more with our daughter.

Ken and Flower were avid SU football and basketball fans, rarely missing a home game since graduation despite the two-hour plus drive from Scotia. Flower’s knowledge of Syracuse sports is unmatched to this day. They have passed that passion on to all of us and our children as well.

If I had to pick one thing that the Syracuse experience has brought to our family, it would be the strengthening of each individual’s commitment to others in our time at SU. Whether it be to their community, their industry or to their school, members of the extended Buhrmaster family have continued to be deeply involved in lives of service long after graduation. We may all have had the core values of service instilled upon us before we arrived on campus, but Syracuse gave us each different opportunities to become involved and to experience the value of giving back. This is a characteristic of a great school that is often overlooked.

Over the past 95 years, members of our family have been provided with opportunities to learn about leadership and service while students at SU, lessons that have served us well throughout our lives. While on campus, family members have served as head of the student government, editor of the Daily Orange, provided leadership for fraternities and sororities, served as RAs and in other residence life leadership positions, participated in and provided leadership for intercollegiate athletics and the intramural program, and volunteered with or led scores of clubs and events. After graduation, the lessons of service from our time at Syracuse have taken family members to all 50 states and around the world with the common goal of quiet service helping to make other peoples’ lives better. Syracuse University gave us the training ground and then provided fuel for our passion.

Some families pass down priceless heirlooms. My grandparents passed along a long Syracuse legacy of which to be proud. I was blessed to be able to attend Syracuse and become an Orange alumni along with my grandparents, great uncles, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, my wife, and soon our daughter. Maybe, after 95 years, our family’s Syracuse story has only just begun?

Syracuse University Family History of John H Buhrmaster ’86 (as of September 2016)

Neil Buhrmaster, Great Uncle, Class of 1925

Louis H. Buhrmaster, Great Uncle, Class of 1926

Kenneth E Buhrmaster, Grandfather, Class of 1937 (George P Arents Award Winner)

Flower Sheldon Buhrmaster, Grandmother, Class of 1937

Courtney R Sheldon, Great Uncle, Class of 1942, Cum Laude

Louis H Buhrmaster, Father, Class of 1961

Margaret Burch Buhrmaster, Mother Class of 1961

Judith Rowell Buhrmaster, Step Mother, Class of 1962

James R Buhrmaster, Uncle, Class of 1967

Eric Sheldon, Cousin, Class of 1972

Coralee Burch, Aunt, Class of 1964

Lois Buhrmaster Seyse, Aunt, Class of 1971

Leslie Jones Buhrmaster, Wife, Class of 1986 Master’s

Kenneth C Buhrmaster, Cousin, SU at Utica College Class of 1994

Laura Buhrmaster Dieterich, Sister, Class of 1992

Diana Buhrmaster D’Eredita, Sister, Class of 2000 Master’s

Alyssa Coletta Buhrmaster, Cousin-in-law, Class of 2001

Ann Seyse Stitt, Cousin, Class of 2011 JD

Amanda C Buhrmaster, Daughter, Class of 2019

John Buhrmaster
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