march2007

A Tribute To James Buck

March 7, 2007

Simcoe, ON


I would like to take the opportunity to thank George Ryder for his heartfelt tribute to our friend, Jim Buck.
 
Today , George and I joined the many friends and family members in saying farewell to not only a great fan of fastball but a man who served his country in the military for nearly 30 years.
 
I have experienced many highs and lows in the game of fastball. Success has never come easy to a player , coach or sponsor who steps up to play at the highest levels of this great game. When we win we share it with our teammates, when we lose we often find it a lonely road back home from the ball park.
 
Jim Buck went to war as an under aged youth ; he felt that strongly about his freedom and the commitment to preserve it. He watched his friends and family fall beside him in battle, he truly new the loneliness of personal loss. When the war ended he tried civilian life, married and started a family. He broke his back in an work related accident and with a cast from neck to hips was told he would never walk again. He fought that battle too, and when he worked himself back to pass a medical reenlisted in the military where he served with the United Nations, in Egypt and abroad until 1972.
 
Jim was a fixture at ball parks in Ontario, always with his buddies Winston and Gus.
 
When he was diagnosed with cancer last Fall, he knew what was ahead for him. He'd nursed his late wife through that same disease and lost her a couple years ago. He struggled with the option of a major operation and confided in his friends, George, Winston, Gus and  I among others. He chose not to suffer through surgery but faced his immorality head on.
 
As Jim deteriorated, we talked by telephone dozens of times and and we both new he has fading. Two weeks ago we had a lengthy discussion about ball players and the coming season. As George had indicated earlier  Jim had his favorites but he loved to watch Paul Algar, Brian Stere, Jeff Spencer, Marty Kernagan and  Darren Zack. He loved the cozy confines of Hillside Park and the Waterloo Twins, and he always supported the local teams where George Ryder coached or played. When we finished our conversation that day I said to him " Jim, you sound a lot stronger today" to which he replied " I always feel better when I'm talking about softball ."
 
I take many memories of the 30 plus years spent in the game of "big time fastball" , but none of the victories compare with the friendships I have made along the way. Jim Buck was one of my dearest friends and I am forever thankful to the game for giving me the gift of that friendship .
 
I know many of those who read this will never know who it is really about, but I also know that in every ball park across the world there are people like Jim. They are a part of the fabric of what our game is really all about. As players and coaches we sometimes put ourselves above the game, but without our great fans we would be playing to an empty set of stands. Take the time to stop and say hello to the "fence sitters" in your ball parks. Give those grizzled critics some of your time. It will be a mutual reward I can assure you .
 
Jim would have turned 84 at the end of this week.
 
Rest in Peace my Friend,
 
Love,
 

A Tribute To James Buck

1924 - 2007

 

Over the years many of us involved with fastball have been fortunate to have crossed paths with Jim Buck.  Jim and his traveling buddies, Gus Takacs and Winston Botting were fixtures in many fastball parks throughout Ontario overthe years. Their attendance and support of the game was always greatly appreciated by the hosts and players alike.  Whether it was a trip to Perth, Midland or their favorite destination – Waterloo  these three gentlemen followed the game and knew it well.

I was lucky enough to meet Jim in Simcoe in 1978 and we’ve been fastball buddies ever since.  I, like many other players from the Haldimand Norfolk area, past and present, are really going to miss him.  Jim was a great family man and his conversations always started with questions about your family and ended with “God Bless”.  A veteran of World War II, Jim went on to serve overseas with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry ,the United Nations in Egypt and became a career soldier in 1953 with the R.C.H.A.  Jim was always proudest of his contribution to the freedom we enjoy as Canadians.  He is known in Simcoe as The Flag Man for his many letters to the editor about theproper etiquette for flying our Maple Leaf.

His home was full of ball jackets, programs, sweaters and hats given to him by players who just wanted to say thanks for his support. When we would get together for coffee Jim might have shown up in a Broken Bow jacket given to him by Rob Schweyer and a Waterloo Twins hat from Larry Lynch.  Anotherday it was an I.S.C. hat sent to him by Milt Stark, a Rockford Yins jacket and an A.S.A. T-shirt. He was a huge supporter of the local Rockford Yins and served on their Executive for many years.  I.S.C. Hall Of  Famer Larry Lynch, Jeff Spencer and Chuck Hendricks were some of his favourite players.  In his later years of failing health, Jim could no longer comeout to the ball park but he never lost his love for the game.  He would always call for updates about who was playing where and who were the “upand comers”. 

I was lucky to call Jim my friend; his voice will be greatlymissed.

God Bless You Jim.

 

George Ryder
gjryder@kwic.com

 

 BUCK, James Robert: It is with great sadness that the family announces the death of James Robert Buck, who demonstrated great strength and courage in death as in life. With his family by his side at his home in Simcoe, he died on March 2, 2007, in his 84th year. Father of James Jr. (Doris) of Simcoe, Brian (Kim) of Delhi and Marlene (Eugene) of Simcoe. Grandfather of Tammy (Ralph) of Hamilton, Mark (Sheri) of Simcoe, Steven of Simcoe and Eric of Simcoe. Great-grandfather to Casandra and Alexandrea of Hamilton and Emma-Lynn of Simcoe. Dear brother of Eileen Marshall of Simcoe and Tom (Mary-Jean) of Wainfleet. Brother-in-law of Bill Jenner of Simcoe and longtime family friend Doris Stewart. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by a brother, Joseph Buck, and a sister, Edith Wark. Jim was a friend to many and always willing to lend a helping hand. He was a veteran of WWII, having served overseas with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. He also served overseas with the United Nations in Egypt, then became a career soldier in 1953 with the R.C.H.A. (Sigs). He came to Simcoe in 1972, where he was employed by the Post Office for a number of years. He was an avid gardener and loved going to fastball tournaments with his buddies Winston and Gus. He was referred to as the Flag Man. Friends are invited to call at THE FERRIS FUNERAL HOME, 214 Norfolk St. S., Simcoe, on Tuesday evening from 7 - 9 p.m., where service will be conducted on Wednesday, March 7 at 11 a.m. Rev. William Hansford and Rev. Victor McWilliams officiating. Memorial donations to the Norfolk Hospital Foundation or the Arthritis Society would be appreciated.

 

 

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