Scott Buell ’75

Scott Buell, chemist, entrepreneur, armchair historian, family handyman, local polymath, dad-joke aficionado, husband, father, and grandfather, passed away Tuesday, February 27, 2024, in his home in Raleigh, NC. He was 71.

Born in Columbus, Ohio and raised on a corn farm in Sunbury, Ohio, his intelligence and curiosity were apparent from an early age. He continued his pursuit of knowledge of his own history getting into genealogy.

He earned a B.S. in chemistry from Davidson College, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he met his wife, Jeanne. Scott’s gregarious and welcoming nature caught Jeanne’s eye, or more accurately, her ear, as he called out to her from down the hallway, “HEY! ARE YOU NEW?”. Their chemistry grew over the course of their studies and learning new things together like how to play Bridge (the card game), a bonding experience that would span their lives and deal them many happy memories with friends everywhere they lived. Sharing games and solving puzzles of all sorts was a source of enjoyment for the couple over their 43 years of marriage, whether it was a jigsaw puzzle, crossword, broken appliance, or piecing together a detailed travel itinerary.

After graduate school, they moved to New Jersey where Scott began his 29-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. They had 2 children, Nicole and Devin. Scott cultivated his children’s intelligence and instilled empathy, work ethic, and “corn”iosity in his children from an early age. “Ask good questions,” was a common salutation in the house as the kids headed to school. He loved sharing his science enthusiasm with his children and their classmates, performing science “magic” tricks in their classrooms for many years and recently at home for his grandsons.

Of course, his love of science wasn’t limited to labs and classrooms. An admirer of nature, the family traveled America, visiting 32 National Parks and countless campgrounds. He sought out unique events from hot air balloon festivals to total solar eclipses, an opportunity to hone his amateur photography skills. Scott also channeled his roots into one of his favorite pastimes of gardening. He loved exploring new varieties of vegetables to grow (getting the whole family hooked on a surprisingly delicious tiny tomato), sharing his bounty with family and friends, and nurturing his children’s green thumbs with his enthusiasm and encouragement.

An avid DIYer, Scott never met a home project he wasn’t eager to tackle himself, improving every room in his house and many in his children’s homes as well. Known for his deep research to ensure the work was done right, he owned nearly every tool imaginable and knew how to nail quality construction from tiling and plumbing to framing and flooring. Recent notable projects include a 300 sq. ft. treehouse for his grandsons and a secret doorway for his daughter, which was featured in the Washington Post.

During retirement, Scott embraced his philanthropic side. He volunteered with AARP, North Raleigh Ministries, Memory Cafe at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and Camp Agape. Scott was also immensely proud to have established the Van Divender/Buell Scholarship at the University of Richmond, which his wife and daughter attended, to support students pursuing STEM degrees.

Good-natured, smart, generous, and funny, Scott was loved by all who knew him. He will be so greatly missed.

He is survived by his loving wife, Jeanne Van Divender; daughter, Nicole (Jim Cunningham); son, Devin (Katie); grandsons, Carson and Tanner; granddaughter, Ellery; sister, Tamara Caudy (Don); sister-in-law, Victoria Brookens Buell; and other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Hugh and Dolores Buell and brother, Terry Buell.

A Celebration of Life will be held in-person and live-streamed at 1 PM on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh, NC.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a contribution to North Raleigh Ministries, the University of Richmond Van Divender/Buell Scholarship Fund, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, or a charity of your choice.