'He Just Amazed Me'
Where to begin with Greg Buck? Perhaps with wood.
He was an accomplished woodworker. For a number of years, he had a custom cabinetry and furniture business with his father, and they restored a couple of homes, including the Victorian that his parents live in in Staten Island.
He was also a classical pianist, and he played the organ at the weddings of friends. He went part of the way through cooking school and was quite proficient at the stove. He completed nursing school (where he met his wife, Catherine Morrison-Buck) and was thus a registered nurse, though he never practiced.
Finally, he was a firefighter with Engine Company 201 in Brooklyn.
"He was the most talented guy I've ever seen in my life," his wife said. "He just amazed me."
He was quiet about his multiple talents. It took awhile before his colleagues at the firehouse learned of his cooking skills and showed him to the kitchen. They began calling him the Silent Chef.
Firefighter Buck, 37, kept a woodworking shop in an old hotel he restored on Staten Island. He and his wife had planned to start a business selling antiques he restored and the new furniture he made. They were also in the process of buying a home on Staten Island. Mrs. Morrison-Buck closed on it a few weeks ago. Firefighter Buck was going to restore it. "Now it's my job," she said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 6, 2001.