Mourners gathered online and in-person at the Lancaster County Convention Center on Saturday morning to see the School District of Lancaster’s first Black principal laid to rest.
Leon “Buddy” Glover, who died Feb. 11 of a massive stroke at 71, was a “big bear” who sought to bridge gaps in society, acting as a father figure and role model to many, Rev. Dr. Louis A. Butcher said in his eulogy.
“Buddy looked around and said ‘there’s other gaps in our society,” Butcher said. “There’s other gaps that need somebody to stand and make sure it’s healed and that it’s mended and that the walls around them are built up.’”
Other educational leaders before Glover didn’t see the potential Black children had, Butcher said, but the man who was named principal of Edward Hand Junior High School in 1987 found value in every child.
“Buddy looked at the kids and said, ‘doctors, why not? Lawyers, why not? Nurses, why not? Educators, why not? Presidents, why not? CEOs, why not?’” Butcher said.
Glover was “like Superman” to his children, his son William said. The educator whose career with the School District of Lancaster lasted more than 30 yearsrarely cried and never missed a day of work, always arriving five minutes early, even though he never possessed a driver’s license. Seemingly nothing could harm the spirit of the former principal, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent who walked everywhere in his signature Chuck Taylor sneakers.
“Our Buddy was always there,” the younger Glover said.
One after one, those who knew Glover reflected upon his impact in school and on the Green Street community in Lancaster City’s Seventh Ward.
Troia Butcher said she was blessed to be a “Green Street kid,” growing up on the 400 block of Green Street in Lancaster City’s Seventh Ward, where Glover lived. Glover later became Butcher’s principal.
“He never treated me any different from any other kids,” Butcher said. “He never said, ‘Troia, you know better.’ He never embarrassed me, even when I was being a knucklehead.”
Butcher said Glover was an integral part of Lancaster’s Black community.
“We had a village,” Butcher said, “and Buddy Glover was a part of our village. He was a man that we were proud to say we knew.”
Pastor Alex Rivera of Journey Church, who officiated the service and himself grew up in the Seventh Ward, said Glover “inspired us and encouraged us” and was a “hero” to many in the community.
“That’s somebody who has lived a life worth living,” Rivera said of Glover. “A life that has impacted the lives of others.”
Rivera encouraged mourners not to grieve Glover’s passing, but to celebrate the positive influence the longtime educator left on those around him.
“Today, while there is pain, while there are tears, our prayer is that we would move from lament to praise,” Rivera said. “That we would move from weeping to giving God a joyful praise for the life that he has given, the life that he blessed, the life that blessed us and the life that God has chosen to take.”
Even with his father’s passing, William Glover said he felt fortunate to have known the man who so many described as a hero and a generous soul.
“I’m blessed because the vast majority of my years have been spent living with and riding on the Buddy Glover train,” William said.
“It’s been one hell of a ride.”