Rev Maurice William Buck was the younger brother of my father, Rev John Martin Buck. Both brothers ministered in the Diocese of Calgary for decades. Both received their calls to ministry later in life. And of both it can be said,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.’ Matthew 25:21-22.
Maurice and his twin, Muriel (d. 2012), were born at the beginning of the Great Depression in Ottawa. His father, Thomas Charles Barfield Buck, was born in London England. In 1908 at 16 years of age, he immigrated by himself to join his family in Canada. When the ‘Great War’ broke out he served the army in Ottawa where he met Lena Gertrude Martin, an Ottawa Valley girl who grew up in Morewood, Ontario. Her father, Alva Judson Martin, was a cheesemaker of French-Canadian origins. Her mother, Christie (Van) Steinburg was of Dutch (and possibly United Empire Loyalist) origins. Following the beginning of the Great Depression, Thomas Buck moved the family of nine to Verdun, Quebec near Montreal where he found work as an accountant at a brewing company. According to family stories, the brewery had an open fridge policy which ultimately led to Thomas Buck’s downfall, alcoholism and family dysfunction.
All the males in the family were encouraged to get a university education. The oldest brother, Tom (d. 2011), received his Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from McGill, but became a journalist. He, like Maurice, had artistic talent and used his chemical engineering background to develop pottery glazes. My father, John Martin Buck (d. 2009), completed a Civil Engineering degree at McGill, but experienced a call to ministry just before I appeared on the scene in 1952. Maurice William Buck also completed a degree at McGill, in Education.
In 1968 Maurice and family joined the exodus of others from Quebec and moved to Calgary. My family had left the Montreal area earlier, arriving in Calgary in March 1965 in response to a call my father received to became part of a team ministry at Christ Church Elbow Park. I have fond memories of acting as a chauffeur in Uncle Maurice’s hopped up VW bug in the hunt for a new home. Florence (d. 2005), Maurice, Cheryl, Wendy and Kim moved into 740 Willacy Drive in Willow Park, a shorter commute to Okotoks High where he taught art for 16 years. He had earlier experienced a call to the ministry that culminated in his ordination after his retirement from teaching in 1984.
Maurice loved to travel to be with his family. One notable trip was just after he retired from teaching when he joined us in Salisbury England where my father had exchanged parishes for the summer. He took the time to travel keep in touch with his siblings and their children, now spread from Quebec to the west coast. He regularly visited his oldest sister and my godmother, Mary (d. 2013), who was the only family member to remain in Quebec in Verdun. He is lovingly remember by Mary’s son, Richard, who now resides in Toronto. His older sister, Margery (d. 2012) also lived in Toronto. The remaining older sister, Doris died in 2012, in Regina. Until my father’s death, he and Maurice got together on a weekly basis. Maurice told me a number of times how much he missed his brother, my father.
I, like others who knew Maurice as an Anglican minister, knew him to be a kind and Godly man. Another clear memory I have of him is of a sermon he preached at St. James about the ‘Jesus Nut’. This term, he told us, refers to the nut that holds the main rotor blade in place on a helicopter. With the failure of the Jesus nut, the helicopter drops like a stone. Maurice likened that catastrophic failure to what happens to us when we fail to hold on to our faith in the resurrecting power of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. According to Our Daily Bread, “If you feel as if your life is crashing down around you, remember that it’s Jesus who holds all things together—even your life.” Maurice certainly knew, and more importantly, preached this.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. —John 1:3.
I feel blessed to have known him. Like St Paul I am convinced that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38. I believe Maurice William Buck has now been happily reunited with the rest of his family.