Beth Elaine Buchanan

bethBeth Elaine Buchanan
July 14, 1999 - February 13, 2023
Athens , Georgia - Beth Elaine Buchanan was born on July 14, 1999 in Fresno, CA to parents Tim Buchanan and Julie Olson Buchanan. Beth was an exceptionally kind, warm, intelligent, witty, and fun-loving young woman with a keen interest in helping others.

Beth attended Valley Oak Elementary School and Kastner Intermediate School where she developed several lifelong friendships and was highly involved in drama, choir, student council, and soccer. She participated in Science Fair, earning a number of awards at the local and regional levels and was selected to represent the Central California region at the State Science Fair in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. In 2009, Beth was named an Academic All-Star by the Fresno Bee.

Beth graduated as a valedictorian with academic distinction from Clovis West High School in 2017, where she maintained a stellar academic record and showed unusual talent in a range of academic subjects, participating in the Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial teams. Beth had a beautiful voice, was a talented actress and dancer, and was enthusiastically involved in choir and drama. She had the opportunity to perform in every musical and play while a student at Clovis West, with her most memorable role as Wednesday in the Addams Family (musical), for which she won a Danny Award. Beyond her school involvement, Beth was also an active Girl Scout, and earned her Girl Scout Gold Award in 2017 for creating a sustainable drought-friendly community garden to serve patrons freshly-grown produce and culturally-appropriate herbs at a local food pantry. The garden is still operating and flourishing today - serving over 300 families per month with its bounty.

Throughout her time in Fresno, Beth was very involved in her church, University Presbyterian Church, where she felt very supported and nurtured. She was an active member of its youth group, choir, and service opportunities. Beth was also involved in local community theater, including California Arts Academy and Roger Rocka's Workshops.

After high school, Beth attended Rice University in Houston, TX, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2021. While at Rice University, Beth was very involved in research, serving as a research lab manager. On graduation, she earned several academic awards - including the William Howell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship - and graduated with honors for her thesis titled: "The Role of Family Income and Financial Security in Work-School Conflict and Work-School Facilitation." Outside of her academic achievements, Beth also made several dear friends at Rice, and spent her free time performing in plays, exploring the food scene in Houston, volunteering, and singing with her a capella group, The Low-Keys.

Beth went on to pursue a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, where her research interests centered on lower-income workers, particularly with respect to work-family balance, employee well-being, and gender. She was flourishing as a researcher and graduate student. Beth was nearing the end of her second year in the program when her life was taken. She was extremely happy in Georgia, where she lived with her dear cat, Boba, and met her beloved partner, Asa Julien, who is a PhD student in Geography at UGA.

From a young age, Beth deeply valued spending quality time with her parents and sister, who spent lots of time together traveling, trying new things, making up songs, creating adventures, and laughing. She and her older sister Claire were lifelong best friends, and the two continued to perform together, work on community service projects together, cook together, and develop similar senses of humor throughout Beth's life.

Beth's energy, warmth, and humor lit up the room. She was a force for good and had a lifelong passion for social justice. Beth enjoyed traveling to new places, listening to and performing music, hiking with Asa, reading fiction and history books, cooking elaborate and impressive meals, and participating in as many impromptu dance parties as she could. Beth is a dearly loved and irreplaceable daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, partner, and friend, and her infectious laugh, warm presence, unmatched humor, compassion, and kind heart are deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Beth's life was tragically cut short on February 13th, 2023 when her car was hit head on by a drunk driver outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Beth is survived by her parents, Tim and Julie Buchanan (Fresno, CA); her sister, Claire Buchanan (Portland, OR); her maternal grandparents, David and Bonnie Olson (Naperville, IL); aunts, uncles and cousins including Susan and Selam Olson (New Haven, CT), Bill, Kim, and Corey Buchanan (Portland, OR), Chris, Mitzi, and Kayla Buchanan (New Castle, DE), John, Carey, and Tess Buchanan (El Dorado Hills, CA), and Mark Buchanan and Shinya Kurebayashi (Saratoga, CA); her beloved partner, Asa Julien (Athens, GA); her dearly loved cat, Boba; and several dear and cherished friends. She is preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, William and Rosemary Buchanan.

Services will be held at 2 pm on April 15, 2023 at University Presbyterian Church, 1776 E. Roberts Avenue, Fresno, CA, with a reception to follow.

Inspired by Beth's passion and commitment to helping others through action and research, we have created the Beth E. Buchanan Memorial Fund through the Central Valley Community Foundation, which strives to honor Beth's legacy by supporting other young individuals who, like Beth, are dedicated to beginning a locally-minded community service project or conducting original research projects to help make the world a better place. Donations to the memorial fund can be made at