Buck Matthews

Published 10:00 pm Friday, September 12, 2014



Leslie Fay (“Buck”) Matthews passed away peacefully in his home in Tryon, N.C. on Sept. 9, 2014. Buck was born Oct. 23, 1937 in Jackson Tenn.to his parents, Louis Brown Matthews, a minister and professor of Philosophy and Religion at Franklin College of Indiana, Franklin Ind. and Reka Blanc Matthews, a teacher of Spanish. His parents were both missionaries in Argentina. His family moved from Jackson to Franklin, Ind. in 1944. Throughout his lifetime; family, education, military, work and home life Buck continually built life long friendships, as he truly valued people, relationships and all of the goodness life has to offer.

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Buck was a gifted individual with talents in many realms. He was a talented musician, playing piano, clarinet and bass violin. He played in the Franklin High School band where he graduated from in 1955. He was voted the best dancer in his high school senior class and has always displayed his smooth style and gracious manner, dancing and living life to the fullest, light of foot and huge in heart. Buck graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1959, where he studied English Literature and played in a jazz combo. His varied talents in both music and musings were again evident as he was offered a job with Stan Kenton, the prominent big band leader. Buck also authored many short stories as well as a novel.

Buck enrolled in officer candidate school in the United States Navy and became an aviator. He served three tours in the Far East aboard the USS Bennington in support of the Vietnam War. As a pilot he flew 179 combat missions and completed over 300 carrier-arrested landings. He was honored and presented with the actual commemorative hook used in the 69,000 aircraft landing on the USS Bennington. Upon completion of his military tour Buck applied for and was provided a chance to further his aviation career as a pilot with American Airlines. In the span of his 30-year career, Buck flew seven different types of commercial aircraft starting with the Boeing 727on domestic routes and completing his career flying the MD11 internationally. Buck retired from his position as a full captain from American Airlines in 1997 with a final flight to Scandinavia.

During his many years of flying, Buck and his beloved wife of 36 years, Linda, who predeceased him in 2011, lived in Climax, Texas. Both avid sports and outdoors people, they joined Cloudline Hounds in Celeste, Texas. They enjoyed many action packed years of fox hunting there as staff with Colonel Denny. Buck was a member of the Tejas Vaqueros riding club in Hunt, Texas for many years enjoying great riding and camaraderie with his fellow horsemen.

Buck and Linda choose Tryon, N.C. for their retirement home site after extensive research in order to secure an active hunting community in 1997. Very active members in both the Tryon Hounds and Green Creek Hounds, Buck and Linda took full advantage of the active fox hunting in the area with many wonderful hunt friends. Buck also enjoyed shooting sporting clays competitively, receiving many awards and national recognition for his shooting expertise, playing golf, fly fishing, kayaking and sharing his musical talents in a trio in local venues.

Buck has always shown his great ability to navigate deftly through life with strength, precision and grace. Buck has been described by his friends in many ways… deep, complicated, dapper, noble, brave funny, refined, intellectual, gracious, generous, larger than life, a person that always made you feel good and appreciated and the list could go on and on. He was an officer and gentleman who will live on in the hearts of those who knew him.

Buck would very much like you to know that the last 18 months of his life were blessed by the constant presence of Suess Fraser. As friend put it, “She brought him joy when he needed it. She brought him kindness and loving attention when he was desperate for it. She made his final months comfortable so he could go out with dignity, a smile on his face… delighted the she had helped him wear with pride and happiness one of his hallmark bow ties. He adored her.”

Buck was the third of four children in his family. Both of his two older brothers, Louis, a physician at Dartmouth- Hitchcock Medical Center in NH and his brother Gary, a philosophy professor and author at the University of Massachusetts, Mass. have predeceased him. He is survived by his sister, Maryka Matthews Goldberg, a retired psychotherapist and her husband Kenneth living in N.J., a nephew Dale Matthews, a physician and his wife Demetra residing in Va. and six nieces and nephews and seven great nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 5 p.m., at the Green Creek Hounds Kennel, 1795 Sandy Plains Road, Tryon, N.C. 28782 for all those who wish to honor and show their gratitude for our wonderful friend Buck.

Memories and condolences can be shared at the Crowe’s Mortuary website: www.crowemortuary.com

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Buck’s memory to the CooperRiis Healing Community, 101 Healing Farm Lane, Mill Spring, N.C. 28756 www.CooperRiis.org