Richard Lowell Buck

Richard Lowell Buck

Died August 5, 1962

Richard Buck died in the summer after his freshman year at Yale. On August 5, 1962, he was killed in a horrific head-on collision in Pueblo, Colorado. Five other members of his family were also killed including his mother, brother and sister. The only survivor was his father, who had adopted Richard.

J. Curtis Chipman remembers:
In summer, the song sings itself. –John Carlos Williams

For some, both the season and the song are far too short. Dick Buck belonged to this class as well as ours. The summer following freshman year, he and most of his family were killed in a car accident. Though it was years ago, I can still hear his tune – a funny guy, a serious guy, an enthusiastic student. Indeed, quite enthusiastic at times; there tended to be more bounce in his gait as exams or grades loomed near. But no matter how close the date or how big the test, he was always there – coffee breaks or serious bullshitting, whichever as might fit the occasion. He was a good friend who has been missed and is not forgotten.

Robert Claassen remembers: Grief for the loss I felt when he died was the first important experience of my adult life. He taught me that there is a selfishness in grieving that keeps those who are gone with us and allows us to go on without them. I would have never survived the horrible losses of friends and lovers to HIV/AIDS without knowing and feeling this.

Robert Hammond remembers: I remember Dick as a bright, funny, and friendly guy in Freshman English. I was absolutely shocked and suddenly aware of our shared vulnerability when he died in an auto accident during that first summer’s vacation .