Early this morning, former Georgia House Representative Thomas Bryant Buck, III, died in Columbus, Georgia.
Buck, 81, was elected to 19 two-year terms, starting in 1966. A Democrat, Representative Buck was known for his ability to work across the aisle and his navy jacket, khaki slacks, and saddle shoes. On his last day in the Georgia House, his colleagues surprised him, all sporting his “uniform”.
Rep. Buck served as Chairman of Ways and Means and was on the Higher Education committee during the creation of the HOPE scholarship. You can roam Columbus and see his hand in so much of what Georgia’s second largest city has become, in large part due to his leadership and ability to find the money to create a better future for his home town.
His love of Columbus ran deep and when longtime city councilor Red McDaniel died in 2014, Buck agreed to serve out the reminder of the councilman’s term under the condition that he had no desire to run for election. It was a treat to watch him every other Tuesday, sitting next to his friend, Judy Thomas, continuing his service to his community.
A graduate of Emory, both as an undergraduate and law student, Buck was an attorney in Columbus and served on the Board of Trustees for St. Francis Hospital, The River Center for Preforming Arts, and the Columbus State University Foundation.
Born to Thomas Bryant Buck, Jr. and Violet Burrus Litchfield Buck, Tom was devoted to his parents and brothers. Later, Tom married his wife, Susan, and that devotion spilled over to both her and her three sons. He became a doting and proud grandfather to his three grandsons, whom he loved dearly.
Representative Buck is still admired, revered, and respected under the Gold Dome, his legacy running deep and ranking among the likes of Tom Murphy, who was one of his best friends. His straight forwardness, honesty, and ethics made him a sounding board for many and a trusted man of his word.
Tom Buck was a quiet, but generous man who valued his privacy and friends. He was a fixture at First Baptist Church Columbus where he could be found on the back row to the left every Sunday morning sitting next to Susan.
This morning, the Bucks lost their patriarch, Columbus lost one of it’s most devoted citizens, and Georgia lost a Statesman, the likes of which we may never see again.
Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory, TBuck.