Our Friend Bury St Clair was born and raised in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He was the second of four sons. His father was a real estate broker who mainly dealt in rural properties. His mother was a schoolteacher until the demands of raising four boys kept her home.
The family moved to Southern California when Bury was in high school. He served in the U.S. Navy as a radio operator, and later attended Whittier College, working through school as a bartender. It was in that setting that he met his wife, Wanda Salyard, who was a single mother supporting herself and her son as she also attended college. They married and Bury put his whole heart into being a husband and father. In the 1960’s they found Claremont Friends Meeting. They realized that they were Quakers and became members of the Society of Friends. Bury and Wanda decided to change their lifestyle, and they both completely gave up the unwholesome habits of alcohol, tobacco and gambling.
They moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon in the early 1970’s where Bury was employed in the CETA program (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) supporting low income people in finding and holding jobs. They moved to Eugene in the late 70’s and Bury tried to retire, but he found he was still too mentally and socially active, so he found a job working in the offices of Ethan Allen Furniture, where he worked happily for several more years.
Bury and Wanda became part of the Eugene Friends Meeting around 1978. Bury was always a spiritual seeker, and he loved to read and discuss philosophy, theology, biography, science, natural history and many other subjects that engaged his mind and soul. Many people knew of his enormous book collection; he just loved books! Buying them, reading them, sharing them, and sometimes just looking at them, always made him happy and took him to a place of peace inside himself. Near the end of his life, he gave most of his collection to Tsunami Book Store. Bury served on Eugene Meeting’s Worship and Ministry Committee.
In his last years, Bury suffered from kidney disease, and he was on daily dialysis. Finally the day came when he closed his eyes and ceased struggling. Wanda was with him, and she’ll always remember the beautiful look of peace that came over him. His face relaxed and she saw him again as the young man he had once been. He will be remembered by those who knew him as a kind, intelligent, curious man, who befriended people of all ages, backgrounds and conditions. He was a precious Friend, and he is missed in our community.