John Buechner died on Dec. 22, 2020, after battling cancer for a year. He was 68 years old. Buechner was a longtime agronomist and director of technical support for Lawn Doctor. He also was the president of the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA, a legacy organization of NALP) in 1996.
Buechner earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Purdue University in 1975. He moved to New Jersey in 1984 and started his career with Lawn Doctor. He worked for Lawn Doctor for 34 years until he retired in February 2018.
Mike Caprio, regional business consultant for Lawn Doctor, says Buechner was the one who hired him and was his boss for a number of years. Caprio says Buechner was a tremendous mentor for him.
“I had the ability to shadow John in various meetings, get involved with government affairs and network along with John,” Caprio says. “John knew a lot of people in the industry and he would introduce me to somebody and then tell me, ‘Make sure you keep in touch with this person.’”
Caprio says Buechner’s impact with Lawn Doctor was huge. He says Buechner helped bring structure to the turf program and the training of the new franchisees coming in.
“He really took that and ran with it as far as developing the training programs to help these new business owners come in and feel comfortable and rely on him as the go-to guy, the agronomist,” Caprio says.
He says Buechner not only wanted to help Lawn Doctor but the industry as a whole. Buechner was heavily involved with the government affairs committee of PLCCA.
“He was also the chair of that committee and sat on that committee for numerous years even into the transition of PLANET and NALP until he retired three years ago,” he says. “John was instrumental in trying to affect change in the eyes of politicians for what our industry really does.”
Caprio says Buechner also helped start the day of service event at Arlington National Cemetery, Renewal & Remembrance. Caprio says whether he was speaking to franchisees or in a government affairs committee meeting, Buechner had a passion and a drive for the industry.
“His passion for the industry was multifaceted,” Caprio says. “So, it was not only that he cared about green spaces. He also saw the other side of the business, the mentoring side, the government relations side, which he was very active in.”
Buechner was an early riser and liked to plan his thoughts for the day. His favorite part of his job was helping other people. He particularly enjoyed when they followed up to let him know his advice solved their problems. Caprio says Buechner valued family and relationships the most.
He says his fondest memory of Buechner was when he asked him to be his best man when he remarried.
“He lost his wife Naomi and then he met Ann,” Caprio says. “He was so happy and decided to get remarried.”
In his personal life, Buechner loved to golf and took great pride in being a graduate from Purdue.
“With a thoughtful calm and a perpetual warm smile, he consistently made great contributions to the company and helped it move forward in numerous ways,” says Scott Frith, CEO of Lawn Doctor. “Without a doubt, he made Lawn Doctor a better place and it goes without saying that his work here will not soon be forgotten.”
Due to COVID-19, no funeral arrangements have been made, but once the pandemic subsides the family plans to have a life celebration at their church in Pennsylvania.