Buzz Waterhouse
(1946 - 2015)

Buzz Waterhouse

April 17, 1946

June 18, 2015

Buzz’ life was celebrated at the Alley Cantina in Taos on July 26th. See photos of the event at

“Nothing is stranger than what actually happens.”
Found on a scrap of paper on the windowsill above Buzz’ desk.

Buzz Waterhouse, hummingbird watcher, writer, bartender and pilot, died June 18th when he fell out of the sky near the Taos airport.

Buzz’ 69 years were spent making his own rules while enjoying beauty, truth, knowledge, laughter, intense experiences, and meaningful connections with others. The last 33 of those years were spent on his beloved Hondo mesa, laughing with the love of his life, Ruth, and doting on a parade of uniquely beguiling dogs and cats.

Buzz was born in Lowell, Massachusetts to Herb and Pearl Waterhouse, both deceased, and grew up in Newton Highlands and Holden, MA, with his two much younger sisters Julie-Anne and Elaine. His sisters remember him as bright and full of life. He liked telling jokes and making people laugh, and was “in love with football”.

Buzz graduated from Wachusett Regional High School before attending Dartmouth College where he received his BA in History in 1967. He married Dell (Frances) Lloyd, had two children, Chani and Seth, and taught elementary school for several years. In 1975 he headed west with his second wife Janet. He lived in San Francisco, New Orleans and finally Taos.

Buzz met Ruth in 1979 in San Francisco when she climbed into the cab he drove. Ruth fell in love with his wicked wit and his intensity. His determination and strong will, which sometimes looked like stubbornness, impressed her. They became inseparable and married two years later.

In 1997 Buzz and Ruth opened the Alley Cantina in the oldest building in Taos, operating it until 2013 when they sold it to long-time employees. Buzz and Ruth worked to create an environment in which people could relax and have fun, with games, a pool table, shuffleboard, and live music several nights a week. Buzz worked tirelessly to make a success of the venture, including tending bar. As a boss, he was known for being exacting but also fair, and he mentored numerous employees, many of whom became dear friends. Buzz was particularly proud of turning the Alley into an important music venue for Taos and took great pleasure in hosting bands at the bar.

Buzz wrote fiction, poetry and memoir (some of which he later threw into the woodstove), and long letters. Buzz loved to travel, and with Ruth visited China, Iceland, Tanzania, Peru, Amsterdam and the Caribbean, frequenting art galleries, museums, beaches and historic sites. An avid reader, Buzz pursued his interest in history through books, fiction and non. Some of his favorite authors included Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Jack London. Buzz was a dynamic out-loud reader. He amused his wife and children with dramatic recitations of Dave Barry columns, and charmed them by acting out all the characters in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other favorite novels, under the stars outside his home.

Buzz was known for his immaculate and unfailingly reliable uniform: a Hawaiian shirt paired with jeans or khakis. He owned 48 pairs of identical black Nike socks, and was miffed when the company would make slight design changes to their socks, forcing him to actually sort and match. Buzz will be sorely missed by the wonderful people at Bell’s Dry Cleaners, among many others.

His insatiable appetite for challenges led Buzz to pursue new hobbies throughout his life. He was a nominal swimmer, but snorkeled avidly. He took up golf first as a way to spend more time with his father Herb, but became an accomplished player in his own right, and a regular at the Taos Country Club. He was afraid of heights, but obtained his pilot‘s license, bought an ultra light plane and flew regularly. In the last year of his life, he studied bonsai husbandry and killed not one but two beautiful little plants. He also developed a renewed enthusiasm for cooking. A lifelong finicky eater, he finally learned to like mint, chile peppers, exotic spices and he wowed Ruth with the Moroccan, Greek and Asian dishes he prepared.

Buzz always loved good food, great potato chips, straight talk, astrology, sports and the tarot. He despised seatbelts, beets, superficiality and anything that smelled of licorice. Big sky sunsets transported him, and he was enraptured by weather events around his home in Hondo. He delighted in the growth of the aspen trees he and Ruth transplanted to their yard many years ago.

Along with his wife Ruth, Buzz is survived by his sisters Elaine Lind and Julie-Anne Goodwin, their husbands Tod Lind and Don Goodwin, his children Chani and Seth Waterhouse, their spouses Carter Stowell and Sayoko Fujita, grandchildren Orla Waterhouse and Elvin Stowell, nieces Diana Wilkins And Elizabeth Goodwin, nephews Nicholas and Jonathan Goodwin, and his two devoted black labs Flossie and Bricka.

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

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Guest Book (8 entries)
Every so often, throughout the years, I've thought about my second grade teacher(circa 1972),Buzz Waterhouse, at the Lincoln Elementary School in Brookline, Mass. I was saddened to just find his obituary while googling him after so many years, but found myself smiling while reading about his wonderful life. As a teacher, Buzz was innovative, energetic,and certainly made a positive impact on all of us. One of my most vivid memories was him belting out Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" while on a nature walk with our class. I became a teacher because of the amazing role models from B.P.S. I only wish I had been able to tell him that. Please accept my sincerest condolences. Michelle(Shellie)Sutherland
Michelle Sutherland (Former student)
March 8th, 2017
Dear Waterhouse Family,

I'm sorry that you are experiencing the mourning of losing a love one. Many if not all of us has experienced this, but I would like to share a brief scripture that will may just bring you comfort.

(Acts 24:15) "And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous."

Thanks for reading.
Nate Sam (Neighbor)
August 19th, 2015
Ah, Buzz....I loved your laugh and your quiet even energy. I loved looking across the Adobe Bar at the T.I. and seeing your face. All the years I played there, you'd keep an eye on unruly tourists who insisted on drinking way too much and getting too close. The last time I saw you was when I popped in the Alley a few years ago and sang a song. You will always have a special place in my heart and you and Ruth will be a part of every song I sing.
Melanie DeMore (friend)
August 14th, 2015
Talking, laughing, fighting, listening to old music/jazz, hanging out, looking at stars, working, arguing, was one of the best winters of my life. He was my best friend up there that winter of The Ski Valley Junction. He was one of a kind , a rare gem, definitely a 'citizen of the universe'. I will miss you, Buzz. I only wish I could have got back sooner.
love you brother.
Ruth, my heart goes out to you.
Bronny Paletta (friend)
July 9th, 2015
My heartfelt condolences to Herb's family. I haven't seen him since graduation, but I remember him as always being bigger than life. It's good to see that he lived his life to the fullest. Glad he loved those Hawaiian shirts. RIP Herb
Sylvia Hultgren Lee (WRHS classmate)
July 7th, 2015
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"To the man hailed as "the most likely to succeed" in our 1963 yearbook: You did. Go with God for eternity."
Lynn (Broda)Caissie
July 14th, 2015
"A fascinating man has left all too soon. You are missed Buzz."
Daniel Anglada
July 6th, 2015
"For fascinating fellow grandparent: I adored my ride hugging on to you in your plane and your and Ruth's hospitality to us in your home. Our connection lives on through Elvin and Orla. Bonnie Stowell"
Bonnie Stowell
July 3rd, 2015
"Too damned soon, Buzz. There is a big hole in my life."
Michael Sayre
July 3rd, 2015


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