Frank T. Buck
COOPERSTOWN _ Frank T. Buck, 92, died Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, at the Health Pavilion, part of the Masonic Care Community in Utica.
Born on June 12, 1920, in Freeport, Frank was the eldest of Frank L. and Mabel (Lande) Buck’s four sons. Although he grew up on Long Island he always considered his home to be the farm in Middlefield which his parents bought in 1950, where he enjoyed spending time with his family.
In 1938, Frank entered the U.S. Navy and made Naval service his career. Although he served his country for nearly 30 years and during three wars, his most harrowing experience occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 1942, when, while running without lights or radio communication, and while searching for German submarines, Frank’s ship, the USS Pollux, a U.S. Navy destroyer, together with the destroyer USS Truxtun, ran aground and quickly sank in a violent gale and dense fog off Newfoundland, Canada. Although more than 200 of the sailors perished, Frank and others managed to get to nearby cliffs where he and others were pulled from the frozen ledges by local villagers who risked their lives during the daring rescue. The tragedy is still remembered as one of the worst U.S. Naval disasters.
On June 28, 1942, while on leave Frank married the love of his life, Flora Barbara Merkt whom he had met while working in New York City in the late 1930s. They shared 58 wonderful years before her death on Jan. 15, 2000.
Frank always had nice things to say about virtually everyone he met. He was always positive, a gentleman, a wonderful, loving and caring husband and father and a role model for his two sons and grandchildren.
He enjoyed being in the woods, spending time on the farm, gardening, working with animals, Boy Scouts (both as a scout and Scout Master), his Masonic and Shriner affiliations, stamp collecting, reading, traveling (especially to Navy reunions) and exploring with his family. He never lost his curiosity or desire to learn, and enjoyed collecting books, records, musical CDs, and genealogical information _ and, he enjoyed a good, classic Whiskey Sour.
His talent and love of learning was recognized when, in 1947, under the sponsorship of the Navy, he entered Art School at the Art Student League of New York in New York City. This began his lifelong involvement with drawing and cartooning. His works were published numerous times in many Naval magazines and journals. Indeed, even into his 90s, Frank continued his quest for knowledge taking classes at Utica College in Utica in such diverse areas as psychology, art and Spanish.
Shortly after his oldest son, Frank H. Buck, was killed in action on Dec. 21, 1967, in Vietnam while also serving in the U.S. Navy, Frank decided to retire from the Navy and he began working for CBS in its Security Department in New Jersey. Following his retirement in 1983, he and Flora moved back to the family farm in Middlefield, built their home and made it their permanent residence until his move to the Masonic Care Community’s Acacia Village in Utica several years ago.
Frank is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, James W. and Marian Buck of Jamison, Pa.; his grandchildren, Taylor Scott and Olivia Kathryn Buck; nine nieces and nephews; and many friends.
He was predeceased by his three brothers, Gene, Robert and William Buck.
Funeral services for Frank will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in St. Agnes Chapel at Christ Episcopal Church, Fair Street in Cooperstown with the Rev. James Crouthamel, assistant pastor officiating. The family will be in attendance in the chapel from 10 a.m. until the time of the service to receive friends. Burial will be in Lakewood Cemetery, Cooperstown immediately following the service. Military honors will be accorded at burial by a U.S. Navy Funeral Honors Team.
The family suggests, for those who so desire, that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Frank’s memory to the Masonic Care Community, 2150 Bleecker St., Utica, NY 13501.
Arrangements are under the supervision of Tillapaugh Funeral Service, Cooperstown.