Meet a Member
Date Interviewed: March 27, 2011
Name: Bertha “Buffa” Benning Buffington
Member since: 1936. She joined when she was eight years old.
Hometown: Atlanta. Buffa was born at Wesley Memorial (now Emory University) Hospital. She grew up on Whiteford Avenue. She and husband, Don, have a home off Mt. Paran Road.
Community activities and hobbies: In the late 1940s Buffa was a Red Cross Motor Service driver, transporting soldiers from Lawson General Hospital to Atlanta train station. She also drove children to the Cerebral Palsy School on Ponce de Leon Avenue and the Atlanta Speech School at Pershing Point. Buffa was a member of the Young Matrons Circle for Tallulah Falls School and the historian for Whitewater Creek Colony Neighborhood Association. Currently she makes cards for children in hospitals and sends school supplies to children in Afghanistan.
Early career: Bookeeper, secretary, office manager at Benning Construction Company, the business her grandfather started. “I graduated from Winthrop College, had stock in my father’s commercial construction company, and I wanted to help out. I went to night school at Georgia Tech on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I had to get special permission to miss choir practice on Thursdays. I met my husband at night school. We were married in the pro-Cathedral 55 years ago.” [The pro-Cathedral was also known as “the little gray church” on the corner of Peachtree and Andrews Drive. The altar was oriented to the north and the main doors were on the southern end overlooking Peachtree Road. It served as home to the parish from 1933 to 1959.]
Cathedral memories: “I was one of the last youth confirmed by Bishop Mikell. You really knew when you were confirmed by Bishop Mikell because he laid one hand over the other atop your head!
A friend suggested that my brother, sister and I could use our voices in the junior choir Tom Brumby was forming at the Cathedral. I remember Dean deOvies had a radio program on WSB called ‘The Church of the Children,’ and the junior choir sang on the program. I continued to sing with the junior choir, and then the senior choir. I sang in the choirs for 40 years. My son, Herb and daughter, Lana, also sang in the Cathedral choirs.
Both Dean deOvies and Dean Hardman helped build St. Philip’s. The capital campaign slogan for the construction of the Cathedral in the early 1960s was ’The Splendor of Achievement.’ I have applied that expression to many occasions. When someone has accomplished a deed, I say, “That’s the splendor of achievement!”
Church activities: member of Daughters of the King (DOK), serving on many committees, including the Wedding Committee. Contact for “Avery’s Scarves”, a group that knits scarves for children who have cancer or blood disorders. “Avery’s Scarves” is named for Cathedral member Avery Schroeder, who has been treated successfully for childhood leukemia. These scarves are distributed at Children’s HealthCare of Atlanta and Grady Hospital in Avery’s name. The group meets on the second and third Thursdays in the Atrium from 7-9 p.m. [If you are interested in knitting with the Avery’s Scarves group at the Cathedral, contact Buffa at 404-237-8159.)
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