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PSU mourns death of longtime administrator, community leader

Pittsburg State University is mourning the death of Brig. Gen. James "Jim" AuBuchon, a retired longtime Pittsburg State University administrator, who died Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He was 77.

For nearly 40 years, AuBuchon played a significant role in both the expansion of the campus and in university programming. He also played a key role in the growth of Pittsburg as a community leader, and in military service. 

PSU President Steve Scott said AuBuchon was the "very definition of a leader." 

"His tenacity allowed him to not just define a vision, but to marshal the forces necessary to construct it," Scott said. "Our campus and our community are stronger because of Jim's unending desire to make a difference." 

As a keynote speaker at the Apple Day 2006 convocation, AuBuchon told students and other guests that he owed everything he accomplished "to the time he spent at PSU."

He opened many such appearances with a spirited, “It is a great day at Pittsburg State University and Pittsburg, Kansas.” 

A scholarship provided by an anonymous donor made it possible for the Baxter Springs native to attend PSU. His parents and siblings never had the opportunity. 

AuBuchon chose the columbarium at PSU's Timmons Chapel as his final resting place. A service honoring his life tentatively is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the PSU Veterans Memorial. 

He graduated from PSU in 1963 with a bachelor's degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After a tour of duty that included a year in Vietnam, he returned to PSU to join the staff as the assistant director of the Overman Student Center. He completed a master's degree at PSU in 1969 and a Ph.D. from Kansas State in 1978. 

At PSU, AuBuchon's career included serving as an administrator in student affairs, in university development where he served as director of major giving, and in university advancement where he served as vice president. He also served as the executive director of the PSU Foundation. 

He played a key role in raising funds to complete the Kansas Technology Center, Carnie Smith Stadium, the Polymer Research Center, the Student Recreation Center/Pittsburg Armory, and the campaign to design and construct the PSU Veterans Memorial, finished in 2004. It held a special place in his heart and he continued to speak at and attend services there each year for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

With a Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, and several other service ribbons and medals, he was inducted last year into the inaugural class of the US Army ROTC National Hall of Fame.  

He remained active in the military, serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, including as deputy commanding general of the 89th Regional Support Command. In 1999, he retired with the rank brigadier general after 36 years of active and reserve duty.  

AuBuchon played key roles civically, as well: He served on numerous boards throughout the Pittsburg community for entities such as Mt. Carmel Medical Center (now Via Christi), the Family Resource Center, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and Southeast Kansas, Inc. 

He served two terms on the Pittsburg City Commission, which included two stints as Mayor. During his tenure in city government, Pittsburg added the Aquatic Center and the Research and Development Park, expanded the library, and constructed Fire Station 3. 

He was a longtime advocate for Highway 69 expansion and had served as executive director of the Highway 69 Association, a group he helped form. In 2008, he was the Spirit of Pittsburg winner, an award given by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Morning Sun.

In 2006, AuBuchon and his wife, Cathy, moved to Overland Park to be closer to family. Survivors include Cathy, their daughter, Laurel Shelton and her children, their son, Aaron, and his wife Sandy, and their children. 

Additional information and arrangements will be announced by Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg. 

 

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