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Donald George "Don" Buck


1926 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Donald George "Don" Buck Obituary
Donald George "Don" Buck, 92, of Las Cruces, NM, passed away on July 25, 2018.
LTC Donald G. Buck, USA (Ret), was born to Dewey and Helen Buck on March 10, 1926 in Oneonta, NY. In early 1943 he enlisted in the Navy and attended boot camp at Sampson Naval Training Center in New York, followed by an assignment to the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, NJ, as a student at the Aerographers School (weather guesser). Upon graduation in December 1943, Don was assigned to the Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, MN for six months, before receiving orders to the Pacific Fleet Weather Center in Hawaii. In early 1945, he left Hawaii for an assignment to the US Naval Air Facility in Gainesville, GA. Don was released from activity duty in August 1946.
After Don's discharge from the Navy, he returned to Oneonta, NY, and worked for the U.S. Postal service for approximately three years before being recalled to active duty in late 1949, where he was assigned to the Naval Air Reserve Training Command and was immediately sent to Instructor Training (IT) School, in Memphis, TN. Upon graduation from IT school, he was assigned to the Naval Air Reserve Training Unit at NAS Atlanta, GA, as the senior weather observer/forecaster and also as a trainer for Reservists.
In April 1957, by a request from a former commander, Don received a direct commission from First Class Petty Officer in the Navy to a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Signal Corps.
Upon completion of the Signal Corps Officer Basic Training Course, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Meteorology Department at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. During this assignment Don was given numerous deployments to Ft. Benning, GA, Alaska, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Polar Research and Development Center on the Greenland ice cap. In 1962, he attended the Signal Corps Officers Advanced Course at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. He then spent two years assigned to the Signal Missile Support Agency at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) as Chief of the Meteorological Support Division of the Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory before being reassigned to Karlsruhe, Nelligan, and Prum, Germany. In Germany, Don was the "A" Company Commander of the 68th Signal Battalion and later the Executive Officer for the 447th Signal Battalion.
After returning to the US, Don was assigned to the Alternate Joint Communications Center (Classified location) followed by an assignment to the MACV Combat Operations Center in Vietnam. In late 1968, he was assigned to Ft. Huachuca, AZ as the Commanding Officer of the Army Meteorological Department-the same organization he was assigned to as a 2nd LT in 1957!
In 1971, Don relocated to White Sands Missile Range as the Executive Officer of the Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory until his retirement in May 1973.
After retirement, Don moved his family to Las Cruces and accepted a job as the Program Director for the American Red Cross. He then became the Executive Director of the United Way of Dona Ana County where he retired again after 20 years in 1994.
Of course, "retirement" is a matter of perspective. Don considered it an absolute privilege to serve his community. He has served as a volunteer on numerous Boards and Committees, including: a founding member of the Three Crosses Travelers RV Group, the Picacho Hills Country Club Board of Directors, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, The Conquistadores, the Rio Grande Rotary Club, and the Mesilla Valley Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America. Don spent many hours organizing and supporting numerous community events such as: The Whole Enchilada Fiesta, The Bataan Memorial Death March, the Mesilla Valley Hospice Yard Sale, Rotary's Dress-A-Child and Chamber Las Cruces Day in Santa Fe representing the city.
Don is preceded in death by his wife, Lossie; his brother, John; and his parents, Dewey and Helen Buck.
He is survived by his four children: Dale Anderson of Charlotte, NC; Larry Buck of Rio Rancho, NM, Patricia (Dave) Reynolds of Phoenix, AZ, and Sandy (RJ) Moore of Sierra Vista, AZ, his 9 grandchildren: Andrea, Debbie, Amy, Andi, Lisa, Stephanie, David, Brittany, and Shannon, his 8 great-grandchildren: Christopher, Colby, Dylan S., Ryan, Dylan L., Bobby, James, Kevin and his one great-great grandson: Chris.
Memorial donations can be made in Don's name to the following:
Rio Grande Rotary Club: Dress-A-Child
Mesilla Valley Hospice
Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary
Mesilla Valley Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America
White Sands Historical Foundation
United Way of Southwest New Mexico
In Don's words, "I truly believe that being a volunteer is just paying the rent on the space you occupy in this great country."
To our father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great grandfather, steward, friend, sailor, soldier: Don Buck: Thank you for your love, support, humor, perspective, tenderness, compassion, and service to your family, your friends, your community, and to this great country! We are all blessed in every respect because of you.
Please join us for a Celebration of Life, scheduled for Friday, August 17th at 3:00pm at The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, NM. We invite you to share your favorite Don Buck story with friends and family!
Arrangements are with La Paz-Graham's Funeral Home 555 West Amador, Las Cruces, NM, 88005. To sign the online guest book, please visit www.LaPaz-Grahams.com
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News from Aug. 5 to Aug. 12, 2018
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