Originally Published: October 25, 1997
Author: Bill Shea
CLARION-Glen E. Buxton, the former lead guitarist for the band Alice Cooper, was remembered as a talented musician as well as a good friend and neighbor during funeral services Friday in Clarion. About 175 people crammed into Willim Funeral Home on Main Street in Clarion to pay their last respects to Buxton, who was the guitar front man for Alice Cooper from the late 1960s to 1974 as the group turned out a host of hits such as "School's Out." Former Alice Cooper band members Neal Smith, Michael Bruce and Dennis Dunaway were among the mourners.
Buxton died of pneumonia on Oct. 19. He had moved to Clarion in 1990 to help a friend, John Stevenson, run a farm. Photographs and other memorabilia from Buxton's musical career were displayed in the funeral home. Among the artifacts were a black guitar and a platinum record Buxton received when the album "Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits" sold one million copies.
The mourners stood and gave Buxton a final standing ovation as the battleship gray casket was wheeled into the funeral home's main room. "He was number one in our lives," said Reggie Vincent, a fellow musician who had known Buxton for 28 years.
"He was also a little different," Vincent said. "If there were ten people standing in line, you'd pick Glen out. He was different, he stood out. But that's not a bad thing. During his remarks at the funeral Vincent described Buxton as "a great guitarist and a great friend." "We loved him," he said. "We miss him."
The Rev. Pat Nemmers of Holmes Baptist Church in Holmes said that when he learned Buxton lived in town the first thing that crossed his mind was an article he read in which the guitarist was described as "the most shocking and irreverent of his time."
Nemmers said that when Buxton began attending Holmes Baptist Church he learned that the rocker was a complex, intelligent man with a good sense of humor. He added that Buxton was quite earnest in his Christianity.
"Having reached the top of the rock world, Glen found he needed a rock higher than that," Nemmers said. "There is a higher rock. Glen I'm here to tell you, found that rock. That rock is the Lord Jesus Christ." Buxton's long hair and sometimes unkempt appearance didn't create a stir among the congregation, according to Nemmers.
"He was just accepted for who he was," he said. At the conclusion of the service the strains of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" filled the funeral home as the mourners filed out.
Buxton was laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery in Clarion. Although Buxton may have had an outrageous stage persona, people in Clarion who knew the guitarist recalled him as a friendly fellow who liked photography and gave a few guitar lessons to local folks. "I really liked Glen, said George Lehman, a Clarion resident who attended Holmes Baptist Church with Buxton. "I thought a lot of him," Lehman said. "He was a special friend. He really appreciated me and all his friends. Lehman said he listened to Alice Cooper music, but never dreamed he would befriend a member of the band. Barb Detmer of Clarion said kind and eccentric are the first words that come to mind as she remembers Buxton. She said she was also impressed by his eagerness to learn about the Bible and Christianity.