Obituary: John Murray Buck, 1936-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: John Murray Buck, 1936-2021 

World traveler was a teacher and adventurer — a loving and playful kid at heart

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  • James Buck
  • John Buck

On Monday, December 27, 2021, John Murray Buck (affectionately known as “Jack”), passed away unexpectedly at the age of 85, surrounded by his loving family.

John was known for his kindness, compassion, mischievous smile and energetic spirit. He was always ready to lend a helping hand, volunteering at myriad charities and treating all people with kindness.

He devoured literature, and he loved to learn, travel and speak foreign languages. He played tennis and rode horses, and he could name any piece of classical music he heard or any tree he saw. He was an adventurer who traveled the world and a loving father and husband who dispensed friendly advice and told stories with a gentle good nature and sense of humor.

John was born on July 20, 1936 in Northfield, Vt. After studying at the University of Vermont and Norwich University, he received a degree in English literature at the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s degree in education from California State University, Fullerton.

He worked as a teacher, mentoring generations of students in English and theater, and ended his career as a guidance counselor. His work touched countless lives, and he dedicated himself to helping others grow.

He never stopped learning, though, and was known to read deeply on topics from aliens to military history, spending time each day learning new languages on his phone. Lovingly known as “Captain Jack,” he loved to explore Lake Champlain in the summer with friends and family.

click to enlarge John Buck - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • John Buck

He was dedicated to a life of growth and exploration, of kindness and courage. He had fun, and he made people laugh. He faced the world with an open spirit and fierce integrity, standing up for his beliefs and supporting vulnerable people even when it was difficult.

John spent several years traveling and teaching in India and Saudi Arabia. He was an ever-youthful spirit — he loved the magic and power of trains and spent countless hours playing with his HO-scale train set. John and his surviving wife, Mimi, spent several years traveling all over, making many trips by train!

In his youth, he was a state champion downhill skier and ski jumper for Northfield, and he continued to ski well into his eighties. He had a fearless demeanor and a love of the outdoors, hiking and camping with friends and family. He equally cherished a photo of himself atop the Matterhorn and a photo of him in cowboy gear as a child, happily enjoying all the richness of adventure that life had to offer.

John wanted people to be happy, for his children to thrive, for the overlooked and the downtrodden to be treated with dignity. He loved to win his serve at tennis, to walk at least a mile and a half every day, and to eat hamburgers and potatoes whenever he could. He loved cowboys and Westerns, war movies and the Golden Girls, jazz music and classic sports cars.

He smiled often and was equally taciturn and dignified (much to the amusement of his children, who loved to provoke him to laugh when he was being serious). He believed in the incredible and looked forward to his next adventure beyond the stars, where we can see him shining down on us every night from the brightest star in the sky.

John was predeceased by his parents, Katherine and Gardner Buck; and his older brother, Gardner Jr. (“Sonny").

John is survived by Mimi Pearson, his wife of 17 years; and his five children. Joshua, Justin and Sarah who live in California. John’s children James and Lauren live in Vermont and New Hampshire. Their mother, John’s second wife, Tracey Buck, died in 2000. He will equally be missed by several cousins, stepchildren, grandchildren and many friends whom he adored.

Per John’s request, there will be no service or memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for anyone looking to honor John to donate to one of the following organizations: High Horses, Project Hope and Trevor Project.

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James Buck

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James Buck is a multimedia journalist for Seven Days.

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