local-hero-award

Sam Buck II with his wife Barbara

Sam Buck Sr. with his wife Barbara

A local leg­end, Sam Buck II (local­ly known as Sam Buck, Sr.) was born on San Juan Island in 1927 and spent most of his life here. His par­ents, Sam and Faye Buck, arrived in the islands from Nebras­ka in 1918. He is the old­est San Juan Islander who was born here. Buck served in the Navy dur­ing WWII. He and his wife Bar­bara have four chil­dren, eight grand­chil­dren and five great grandchildren.

In 1960 Sam and Bar­bara opened San Juan Prop­er­ties Real Estate Com­pa­ny, now known as Cold­well Banker San Juan Islands, Inc. No one has pro­vid­ed more prop­er­ty for home con­struc­tion and has been involved in more real estate trans­ac­tions in the San Juan Islands than Sam Buck. His efforts have trans­formed what the coun­ty once con­sid­ered worth­less land into valu­able prop­er­ties con­tribut­ing sub­stan­tial­ly to the local tax base.

Buck has been involved in envi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion efforts in the islands, the first per­son to incor­po­rate self-imposed envi­ron­men­tal restric­tions with the devel­op­ment of Brown Island. He was instru­men­tal in the cre­ation of the golf course and the orig­i­nal devel­op­ment of Roche Har­bor as well as its even­tu­al trans­fer to the new own­ers. He arranged for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton to buy False Bay, pre­vent­ing dredg­ing it for a mari­na. Buck bought Goose Island and then sold it to the Nature Con­ser­van­cy to pre­vent con­struc­tion of a pro­posed bridge con­nect­ing the south end of San Juan Island to Lopez Island.

Buck par­tic­i­pates in many local orga­ni­za­tions. He was the char­ter Pres­i­dent of the Lions Club, where he is a Melvin Jones Fel­low. He belongs to the Amer­i­can Legion and is a past Mas­ter of the San Juan Islands Mason­ic Lodge. He was a mem­ber of the Roy­al Order of Jesters. He is a char­ter mem­ber of the San Juan Island Yacht Club.

Buck is a sup­port­er of the arts. He has loved music and singing since child­hood, when he sang at so many wed­dings and funer­als that he was known as “Mar­ry ‘em and Bury ‘em Sam.”

After sup­port­ing con­struc­tion of the San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty The­atre, he played Dad­dy War­bucks in the open­ing pro­duc­tion of Annie. He also estab­lished the Kinder­fund to bring music instruc­tion to K-6 grade children.

Buck and his wife Bar­bara con­tin­ue to sup­port their extend­ed com­mu­ni­ty — Fri­day Har­bor, San Juan Island and the San Juan Islands, the place he has loved most through­out his life. He has writ­ten three books [The Buck Stopped Here, A Let­ter to the Peo­ple of Our Amaz­ing and Won­der­ful San Juan Islands and Every Day Is an Adven­ture (Grow­ing up on San Juan Island)] that are avail­able at Grif­fin Bay Bookstore.