Buster Morris Weaver
Born: December 12, 1933 Died: May 4, 2013
Buster M. Weaver of Crump passed away peacefully at Vanderbilt Medical Center Saturday morning May 4, surrounded by his family after a courageous 10 year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a final six-month all out fist fight with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Buster was 79 years old.
Devoted husband to his wife and constant companion of 56 years, Diane, Buster was preceded in death by his parents J.N. and Gladys Weaver, and a beloved younger sister, Carol White. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children; James (Frances) and Jana (Todd Bess), both of Nashville; and his pride and joy, his four college age grandchildren: Marianna (Ole Miss), Kayla (Harding), Gates (DePauw) and David (UT). The eldest of seven children, Weaver was the much beloved patriarch of the large extended Weaver clan, renowned for his sound judgment and his calm, quiet and thoughtful demeanor. He was the consummate big brother to, and is survived by, five of his six siblings- his brother Jack (Rose), and his adoring baby sisters Montez (Bobby Grisham), Ondra (Maxie Martin), Yvonne (Mike Smith), and Rejetta (Bobby Wilson), as well as, numerous nieces and nephews and their families.
Buster was born at his parents’ home in Milledgeville, Tenn., on December 12, 1933, during the Great Depression. After graduation from Adamsville High School in May of 1953, Weaver attended Molor Barber College in Memphis. Weaver married the former Diane Chalk of Morris Chapel in March of 1957.
Weaver was drafted into the US Army in 1956 and attended basic training in Ft. Smith, Ark. While on active duty at Ft. Sill, Okla., Weaver received orders to report to Germany for a 14-month tour. It was while stationed in Europe that Buster picked up his love of travel and his knack for swapping, haggling, and generally horse-trading everything from knickknacks to cars and campers.
In 1958, Weaver returned to his home county, opening Sibley and Weaver Barber Shop on Main Street in Adamsville with his friend and mentor, the late Clell Sibley. Weaver operated the shop after Sibley’s death in 1983 until his retirement as a Master Barber in 2002. Weaver’s Barber Shop remains an enduring Main Street landmark in Adamsville even today almost 60 years later. Buster also managed and farmed the Weaver family farms in the rich White Oak Creek bottom lands around his Milledgeville, boyhood home with his grandfather and father, the late J.E. and J.N. Weaver until his full retirement in 2003. While Weaver always referred to farming as his only “hobby,” those who knew him well knew that he was never happier than when he was on his tractor.
Weaver was a devoted Christian and lifelong member of the Milledgeville United Methodist Church, attending for over 70 years.
Weaver was also a well-known trader of almost anything–knives, guns, coins, cars, campers, tools and the various odds and ends that he would acquire at his favorite local auctions and flea markets as well as during his frequent trips to the “mother lode” of junk–Nashville’s weekend yard sales. Weaver’s brother-in-law and yard sale companion, Maxie Martin, had recently introduced him to the wonders of E-Bay, and his flea market habit entered its logical final stage–the internet. Always on the lookout for a way to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, Weaver would try to schedule his frequent trips to his Nashville cancer doctor as close to the Friday morning kickoff of weekend yard sales as possible. In the last six months, his car “hunting” trips with his great friend of over 50 years, Johnny Bolton, also served as a much needed and welcome respite from his daily battle against leukemia.
An avid camper, Weaver and his lifelong friend and first cousin Joe Milligan of Morris Chapel spent countless weekends on the lake with their families, their campers, motorcycles, dune buggies and of late, fancy “old man” golf carts. Weaver and Milligan were widely known for their annual 4th of July bar-b-q’s and the whole hog cooker they built together in Weaver’s workshop. These weekend camping trips also allowed Weaver to enjoy another of his passions, bluegrass and country music, as pickers would almost always gather around the Weaver/Milligan campfire and play well into the night.
In 2003, Weaver was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was during this time that Weaver first learned of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt and met Dr. David Morgan, a nationally recognized expert in blood cancers. For the next 10 years, with Morgan’s able help, Weaver lived a full, joyful, productive and eventful life. In the years since his initial diagnosis and subsequent treatment, Buster and Diane literally roamed the earth visiting dozens of countries on four continents and over 40 of the 50 states. The highlight of these travels was a sort of reenactment of Weaver’s last trip in Europe as a 24 year old “soldier boy”—a month long car trip through Europe, including all of Germany and Italy, which he took with his Army buddies in 1957. The trip with Diane, this time on a large bus, covered most of his decades old footsteps and fulfilled his lifelong dream to show the love of his life the sights and sounds of the Europe that he had written so much to her about over 40 years before.
The family wishes to express its sincere thanks to the men and women of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Hematology Department. It goes without saying that Buster’s faith and trust in Dr. Morgan and his crew on the 3rd floor of the Vanderbilt Clinic knew no bounds. Their performance over the last decade of Buster’s life is a living testament to the fact that his trust was well placed.
Over the last months of his life Weaver spent a great amount of time at Vanderbilt University Hospital. The family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of the Myelosuppression Unit and especially the hospital’s SICU. Words do not exist to adequately thank these caring professionals for their tenderness and assistance last week, and in particular last Friday night and Saturday morning.
Visitation with the Weaver family was Wednesday evening, May 8 at Shackelford Funeral Home in Savannah. A celebration of Buster’s faith, life, work and loves will be held at the Milledgeville United Methodist Church on Thursday Morning, May 9 at 11 a.m., with interment in the family plot at the Milledgeville Cemetery to immediately follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the General Fund of the Milledgeville United Methodist Church, 57 Main St, Milledgeville, TN 38359.