The last time Gary Hoover spoke to his friend of eight years, Larry M. Buffenmeyer, was June 29, the day he was found seriously injured in his East Hanover Township home on North Hill Drive.
Hoover, of South Hanover Township, was among 30 people to attend a community prayer service held at Shells Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grantville on Tuesday. Leaders of the church said they organized the service not only in remembrance of Buffenmeyer but also to restore hope in the community.
Last Saturday, Pennsylvania State Police responded to a call to find Buffenmeyer with head injuries and broken bones. He was taken to Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he died Sunday morning, police said.
Trooper Megan Frazer confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Buffenmeyer’s stolen 2013 Chevrolet Equinox was found in Lebanon. Police believe the person or persons who stole the vehicle was involved in Buffenmeyer’s death. A press conference regarding the death was scheduled for Tuesday evening.
“My own personal feeling is that it had to be someone that knew him, knew where he lived, knew that he had a little bit of money, and knew that he was easy to talk to,” Hoover said. “I think he knew the person, to let them in the house, and I think he trusted them enough to turn his back on them.”
Throughout their friendship, Hoover said he viewed Buffenmeyer as one-of-a-kind who would do anything for anyone. That’s why he thinks whoever was involved in the homicide knew him personally.
Buffenmeyer was assaulted on the same day that Hoover, Hoover’s wife and Buffenmeyer were supposed to go on a trip. At the last minute, Buffemeyer sent a text to Hoover to say his legs were hurting him and that he couldn’t make it.
“And, that’s the last time I spoke to him,” Hoover said. “By text message.”
The three friends hung around together, especially after Buffenmeyer lost his wife four years ago, heading to places such as Hollywood Casino at Penn National or up to Mohegan Sun in the Poconos, Hoover said.
He said he couldn’t believe the news when he heard his friend had died.
Attendees at the service said they remembered Buffenmeyer as a proud U.S. Army veteran who served in both Vietnam and Korea. He also ran his own roof repair business, according to his obituary.
“Larry lived a full life, an abundant life, he had many friends; anybody who knew him took an instant liking to him…and that’s why we’re here,” Hoover said.
During the 45-minute prayer service, attendees prayed and sang. Before it started, Rev. W.L. Barnes III said he wanted to offer people a place to find some normalcy and peace.
“Grantville seems to be a very connected community, lots of long roots and long histories, so folks really do know each other, and tend to take care of one another, so that’s why this is so upsetting for the community,” he said.