Long-time islander Sam Buck, Sr. passed away on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.
“People should live together in peace and harmony,” Buck told the Journal in an interview in 2015 after receiving a local award. “I tried to do that in my lifetime.”
Sam Buck Sr. was born on the island in 1927 and lived on San Juan most of his life. He was a member of the greatest generation, serving in the Navy during World War II. He and his wife Barbara were married for 65 years and had four children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
He told the Journal in a past interview that he and Barbara are no different than other islanders who take an interest in the island community.
“All we try to do is be good citizens,” he said.
In 1960 Sam and Barbara opened San Juan Properties Real Estate Company, now known as Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Inc. He was instrumental in preservation projects, including the environmental protection of Brown Island and selling Goose Island to the Nature Conservancy. He was also a great supporter of the arts. He loved music and singing since childhood. He sang at so many weddings and funerals that he was known as “Marry ‘em and Bury ‘em Sam.” After supporting the construction of the San Juan Community Theatre, he played Daddy Warbucks in the opening production of Annie.
“He was a perfect Daddy Warbucks!” say family members.
Following that, by popular demand and the urging of his children, he put on a concert at the community theater to benefit the Kinder Music Fund, he and Barbara established in order to help bring music instruction and instruments to K-6 grade children in Friday Harbor.
He was active in numerous service groups on the island. He was the charter president of the Lions Club. He belonged to the American Legion and was a past master of the San Juan Islands Masonic Lodge. He was a member of the Royal Order of Jesters. He was also a charter member of the San Juan Island Yacht Club.
The Bucks even owned the Friday Harbor Journal for a period of time with Tommy Thomas as editor. Buck also ran for the state legislature following in his father’s footsteps who had been a Washington state legislature many years ago.
Buck wrote three books “The Buck Stopped Here,” “A Letter to the People of Our Amazing and Wonderful San Juan Islands” and “Every Day Is an Adventure (Growing up on San Juan Island)” that are available at Griffin Bay Bookstore.
“Sam loved to engage people even those he’d never met. He disarmed people with his smile and the twinkle in his eyes that immediately conveyed he was a joyful, loving soul worthy of their trust. Sam deeply loved his wife and family,” said his two sons Steve and Sam. “He and Barbara kissed and hugged every day until his last breath.”