According to his family, Buechner passed away quietly in his sleep on Monday, August 15, at the age of 96.
Born Carl Frederick Buechner on July 11, 1926, in New York City, his family relocated frequently while he was a young child as his father looked for work. When he was 10 years old, his father committed suicide, and the family eventually settled in Bermuda.
Despite the fact that World War II prevented him from finishing his Princeton University coursework, he earned his English bachelor’s degree in 1948. With the 1950 release of his debut book, “A Long Day’s Dying,” he immediately rose to renown.
He relocated to New York City to lecture at New York University when his second book, in his own words, “failed as horribly as the first one had performed brilliantly.”
It was in New York City that he had an experience that changed the course of his life and work: He began attending Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Growing up, neither side of his family had a “church connection of any kind,” as he put it, but he went because he happened to live next door and “because I had nothing else to do on a Sunday,” he recounted in a video posted on YouTube by the Frederick Buechner Center.