RIP Wiley T. Buchanan III

Wiley Thomas Buchanan III passed away peacefully on March 7, 2021, two days short of his 75th birthday. He died at his home in Washington, DC after a long struggle with a form of Parkinson’s disease. Those who knew Wiley will miss his quick wit, dry sense of humor and easy laugh, all with a twinkle in his eye.

Wiley is survived by his devoted wife, Janis Buchanan, two sisters, Diane Wilsey and Bonnie Matheson, many nieces and nephews, and two loving canines, Romeo and Sandy.

Wiley was born on March 9, 1946 to Wiley T. Buchanan, Jr. and Ruth Hale Buchanan. His family lived in Luxembourg while his father was Ambassador during the Eisenhower administration. He attended the Landon School and graduated from Christchurch School, where he later served as Chairman of its Board of Governors. Wiley earned his BA and MCS degrees from Rollins College and then served in the Air National Guard. After a brief stint with Fahnestock & Co. in New York City, he enjoyed a successful career investing in private equity and oil and gas exploration and production.

Appointed by George H. W. Bush to the Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, Wiley began a lifelong love of the west and passion for collecting western art and cowboy artifacts. Although his home was in the east, Wiley spent many years in the west living in Santa Fe and Denver, meeting cowboys, “doin’ deals” from the trunks of cars, and attending auctions. It was the people as well as the artifacts that captured his imagination. He was a passionate and discerning collector who shared his energy with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY, both as a Trustee and as Chair of its Whitney Gallery of Art.  

Known for his fun-loving spirit, Wiley delighted in hosting gatherings. At Rollins he was the social chairman of his much beloved fraternity, Sigma Nu. His costume parties were legendary. Summers always included time in Newport, RI, where his family and friends would answer the call. An admitted casual golfer, Wiley would never turn down a golf trip if it meant he could spend time with good friends. He and Janis hosted friends anytime they could find an excuse.

He was a lifelong learner, naturally curious, a real gentleman and a loyal friend. A crack shot, Wiley enjoyed many shooting trips around the world with his friends. His shooting reached legend status when he was surprised in Spain by two charging wild boar that he calmly stopped in their tracks. He had a fondness for fast cars and a good southern breakfast. He also enjoyed renovating houses. He was a member of Christ Church Georgetown and co-founded Fund a Fellow for Parkinson’s to train board certified neurologists in movement disorders at Georgetown University.

A confirmed bachelor until the age of 55, he favored petite blondes, reminiscent of his mother. Marrying Janis in 2001 was “the best thing I ever did.” Blessed with an incredibly generous spirit, Wiley helped raise his wife’s niece and nephew as his own for 12 years. He grew comfortable in the decade after his marriage with a parade of godchildren running through his house and a succession of golden retrievers, usually in pairs.

The family is grateful to Wiley’s loving and attentive caregivers in the final years of his life, especially Bryan Soriano, John Cole, Donald Mikala, Colleen Graham, Phyllis Nanakyere, and Emelio Oloya. The family also expresses its gratitude to Noel Wage who has stood alongside in support during this long journey.

A memorial service is planned when Covid-19 restrictions permit and friends can feel safe gathering. Donations in Wiley’s memory may be made to Fund a Fellow for Parkinson’s at Georgetown University,, or the Buffalo Bill Center of the West,

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