This is the first of many in a series I'm calling The Downtowners, stories of people that are part of downtown's history as seen through my eyes. You'll read hilarious stories about celebrities, politicians, preachers, policemen, and prostitutes.
I love studying the history of downtown and know that someday people will look back at our era the way we look back 100 years ago. There are so many stories that should not go untold, there are certain characters that should be indelibly etched into the history of downtown.
Tony Moore ~ January 23, 2023
Everyone downtown knew Mr. Bill, whether you were homeless or lived in a castle he greeted and treated you the same. Mr. Bill bought most of this block in 1992 to have a place that he and his wife Mrs. Helen, along with Jim & Joe Lawrence, could have a peaceful place to worship and witness to anyone who would listen. Every Sunday, you'd see him in Cathedral Square across the street talking with the homeless, inviting them into the Downtown Fellowship Church for coffee, a meal, and to hear the word of God (The church had no pastor, only elders).
Mr. Bill was the most Christ-like person I've ever met and meeting him is a story. I was busy cooking in July 1995 when I walked out to the dining room and saw a man sitting at a table not eating, I asked if he was being taken care of, and with a gentle, patient mannerism he replied, "are you Mr. Moore?", yes sir I replied, he said "I'm Bill Buchanan, the owner of the building you moved into without permission", I laugh but he didn't think it was funny. Though he was so kind, gentle, and gracious, I wouldn't advised underestimating him in the business world. He was an old-school, tuff as nails businessman, or as he called himself, "a steward of God's property". From that day forward he became a mentor to me in business and life, the person I would call for advice, and most importantly a strong Christian man I could look up to. Mr. Bill started coming around more often to keep his eye on me and maybe get lucky and collect a little rent ~ so I thought. Years later he told me he was watching to see my level of commitment to what I was doing, my work ethics, and how I treated others. He definitely kept a tally of the rent I owed and put a late fee on every month past due, but he did that for my sake, not his. He was very tough on me, as a father should be, one time I thought he visibly showed anger at me, but it wasn't anger, it was disappointment.
In 1998 Mr. Bill asked me to write down who I owed, and how much the interest rates were with each, I didn't know why he asked at that time. He knew I was paying NSF fees to the bank, I had heavy debt, but he also saw me open every day with a big smile and work hard until I closed. He called me a couple of weeks later and said these words that would change my life forever, "Tony, if I loan you $200,000.00 will you pay me back?". I replied, "yes Sir Mr. Bill, as long as I can walk, I will work every day open to close and pay you back". He took me to the top floor of a bank downtown and introduced me to the president and his assistant. He told me to tell her everyone I owed and how much, she cut cashier checks to each on the spot. A funny thing happened three years later, I called him up and said, "Mr. Bill, if I can finish paying this off in 3 years instead of the 5 years left, will you drop the interest from 8 to 5%, he chuckled and said, "I taught you too well".
I'll forever be indebted to Mr. William G. Buchanan Sr. for what he did, for what he taught me, for loving me ~ as he did everyone.
Timeless quotes from Mr. Bill.
* (1 Timothy 6:17-21)
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."
Mr. Bill passed February 2nd, 2015, in his eulogy, his son so eloquently said, "Did you know our father? If you did, then you know he has gone to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The world is a lesser place without him, and I know we shall see his again when we meet in heaven. How can I possibly describe in such a brief space the man who was our father, mentor, hero and friend? I could write of his many worldly achievements but that is truly not what he was about. My dad lived his life striving to be like Jesus. He treated EVERYONE with love and compassion...rich, poor, U.S. Congressmen, and the homeless. He had a huge tender heart, and he was a devoted giver of his time and his money to those in need. He loved his family unendingly and was characterized by his laughter and boundless joy. He loved his wife, our mom, as Jesus loves the church."
Tony Moore ~ 3/23/2023
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