Lillian Elizabeth “Libba” Kenan Buchanan

Published 9:14 pm Friday, January 8, 2016

Lillian Elizabeth “Libba” Kenan Buchanan passed away in Selma on Jan. 8, 2016. Libba was born on July 28, 1924, in Selma. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wallace Allen Buchanan; her parents, Lillian Tompkins Kenan and Dr. James Kenan; her brother, Dr. Owen Kenan; and her beloved godmother, Elizabeth “Idgie” Collins.



Libba attended Newcomb College in New Orleans where she majored in art history. She later attended Auburn University for instruction in home economics. She became very active in civic and charitable organizations including The League of Women Voters, the Selma Charity League and the National Association of University Women. Libba also served on the State Board as Registrar of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Alabama. She was also a long-standing member of The Ossian Club.

She was a passionate supporter of the arts. She was a member of the Selma Art Guild and acted in the local theater group in years past. Because of her interests in the arts, Libba brought exposure to the fine arts to school children in Selma and Dallas County by sponsoring the UAB Touring Company through Buchanan Timber Company. In addition to her interest in art, she also had a love for cooking, reading and gardening. She was an active member of the Master Gardener program in Dallas County.

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She served as president in addition to many other capacities on the board of Sturdivant Hall. Located at Sturdivant Hall is a memory garden in her honor known as “Libba’s Garden.” Sturdivant Hall is what is it is today because of Libba Buchanan’s hard work, strong will and perseverance because of her love for the museum and gardens.

In 1997, after working for many years to restore Kenan’s Mill, which had been in the family for over 100 years, Libba and Wallace donated Kenan’s Mill and surrounding acreage to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society. They also organized the restoration of the Caretaker’s House and conversion of that house to a meeting place and library for the Master Gardener Association of Dallas County. Additionally, she donated over 600 horticultural books to establish the library for Master Gardeners and continued, until she was unable to do so, to plant hundreds of flowers on the grounds each year, which will remain a testament to her love for both the flowers and the mill for many years to come.

She is survived by her daughter, Lillian Buchanan Henson (Bucky) and two grandsons, William Wallace Henson and Hunter Charles Henson. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law, Helen Hayes Buchanan of Mobile and Alice Carter Kenan of Fairhope. Other survivors include her nieces and nephews, Reese Kenan Lewis (Matt), Julia Kenan Willcox (Charles), Elizabeth Kenan Hamilton (Bill), James Kenan (Melissa), Mary Owen Kenan (Gordon), Sallie Buchanan Finney (David), Woody Buchanan (Laura), Michael Buchanan (Maryanne), Bill Buchanan (Sheryl), Brad Buchanan, Dick Buchanan (Tori) and Ann Buchanan McRae; numerous great-nieces and great nephews; and one great-great niece.

A funeral service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sturdivant Hall, 713 Mabry Street, Selma, AL 36701 or to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society, P.O. Box 586, Selma, AL 36701.