Buck, you have left us – but as we heard in the text Agnes just read, you are “expected “on the other side”.
There you will continue to take care of what’s necessary for feasts, gatherings, leisure activities – including baking bagels, scones, chocolate chip cookies and other treats. And you will continue to furnish ideas that make life “on the other side” more pleasant.
I have been serving in All Saints for more than 12 years – most of the time with you, Buck, showing up so faithfully every Sunday.I had the privilege to baptize you, Conrad, in 2013: In the preparation of your baptism, I saw how proud your dad was of you: of you, Conrad and of Astrid, his family. And Buck also chose to become Catholic without ever denying the importance of his Episcopalian upbringing.
Buck, for so many years, you were the greeter at the front door of the church and there couldn't have been a better place for you. And also for many years you were responsible for the bulletin – I always admired your perseverance and your fidelity to a task you had chosen to do. And you shepherded the children’s liturgy – bringing with you so many creative ideas that the children loved. And let’s not forget the barbecues where you were always to be found in the center of the action. Radiating warmth and with your ready smile, you made everyone who set foot in our church feel immediately welcome.
For so many years you were a member of the All Saints Council and then of the council of the English-speaking mission: “get things done” was your motto – and your very precise and professional minutes showed the way “to get things done”. But All Saints was just one place of your activities.
You accompanied the Scouts, and at the John F Kennedy school you were all so present – just think of the locker system you introduced with all its benefits. To the baseball team, the “Odyssey of the Mind” competition, and to so many other German-American community organizations and events you gave your energy and talents and your time with almost endless generosity. Through all these contacts with young people, you stayed young at heart – your genuine interest in others marked you so much.
For sure, “The Verein”, “‘The Society of Parents and Friends of the John F. Kennedy School Berlin”, wouldn’t have all the activities it has without you. Vanessa Hansen, who did so many activities tother with you, Buck, wrote: I'll never forget when, many years ago, you told me how you looked forward to retirement so you could dedicate yourself to the family and community. And boy, did you hit the ground running. Your energy was boundless, and you could never sit still as long as there was work to be done. So far Vanessa, who is in Ohio right now – praying with us.
Yes, Buck, you loved being retired the most, because you could focus your energy on being a dad, something which you had never expected earlier in life – and you always set aside time for your family, for Astrid and Conrad.
In your 60s, you joined Melissa’s yoga group – quote Melissa: “I am the Hippo in a room full of Gazelles”.
And you reinitiated the Walker group. Lisa and Melissa can give testimonies of how very active you were in these groups! Buck, I loved the personal contact with you: always stories or anecdotes on your lips, for amusement, but also for helping to understand things.
I remember you as a really wise man – you could really listen. “A problem shared is a problem halved” you would often say. You loved bringing people together and putting smiles on faces. Two days before you passed away, Tina Friedrich walked a last round around the Schlachtensee together with you. It was snowing and you said: “It is the perfect weather for a walk”. It was your way to turn everything into something special. It was your way to turn everyone into someone special. Friendship and community were deeply important to you, and being of service made you truly happy.
The opening statement in the condolence book describes how we feel about your absence:
Our dear friend Buck has left this world. He has blessed us all with his kindness and generosity. His love for life, his laughter, and his spirit of community will remain in our hearts forever. He touched our lives in so many ways...We will miss him dearly but will treasure his memory always.
Buck, you will live on in your family and all of us who had the privilege to be close to you. Your generous presence in this world is deeply missed. You touched so many of us, and we must now remember you in our hearts. You made our hearts warmer, our lives richer and our smiles brighter.
And: See you down the road, dear Buck – better: looking forward to meeting you as a pilot again – this time with wings of your own on your back.
Wolfgang, Thursday January 20th 2022