After the war, Buck returned to Alabama to work the Squire & Sons Farm in Grand Bay, Alabama. He enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Mines, in Tuscaloosa. During his Senior year, he met my Mother, Imogene Wheat, at a drug store soda fountain in Tuscaloosa. That changed everything. They married in 1949, and I arrived in October of 1950, shortly after his graduation.
After graduation as a Mining Engineer, Dad returned to the farm briefly, pending finding a job in his new field of rock hounding. He soon went to work for the Port Sulphur Sulphur Company, out on the Mississippi delta, living in Buras. Next stop after a year or so was the lead and silver mines in Leadville, Colorado. They lived in Buena Vista, about 30 miles and one pass south of Leadville. Mother did not like the looming mountains much, nor the snow.
Korea then raised its ugly head, and Dad was called back into active duty (~1953?). They bought a trailer and took off for Sacramento, California, where he had orders to present himself. Due to his injuries in a Davis Monthan B-29 crash he was in, he had fused bones in both ankles. Should he have to bail out of an airplane, he would surely again break both ankles, perhaps wheelchairing him the rest of his life. After some hem and hawing, the Air force came to the conclusion that he would not fit well due to those injuries, and released to civilian life.
Leaving California, he went to work for the Department of Mineral Resources in Arizona, living in Phoenix. He worked for them a number of years (4-7 yrs??) traveling all over the state, inspecting mines and plying his trade. Eventually he left the department, and worked for various folks in the mining/ HVAC spec'ing/ building estimation area. That gave way after a time and he was out of work for about a year, during which time he tried selling, tools, then publishing a small mining magazine (Borrasca and Bonaza), then this and that. Eventually, the call of the grocer got him back into full time W-2 wage slave employment at a mercury mine outside of Phoenix.
Time to leave Arizona again (1965) and head back to California's Bay Area, where he and his best friend then (~1936), Paul Douglas, lived on a 150 foot barge in Sausalito Bay, took the ferrry to SF and worked as a machinist making small make-and-break boat engines. This time though, he lived in Walnut Creek and commuted to San Francisco. Eventutally he moved into Alameda, near Oakland, California. He worked for the Bechtel Comapny until his retirement around 1979(?). After retirement from Bechtel, Mother moved to Carson City, Nevada for health reasons - better air. Dad commuted up there on weekends, living with me during the week in Alameda, for almost a year and half.
Dad continued to work after retirement in the mining game, clear up until his death, in one way or another. He designed oil and water trucks, invented a ball mill liner removal tool, did survey work, and generally just goofed off. Mother decided she wanted to go home, and back to Tuscaloosa she went, him in tow a couple months later. Two years later, having decided you can't go home, Mother headed West again, landing in Kingman, Arizona this time. (~1982-83)
Kingman was their final move. They again sent down roots, bought a house, got a dog, fenced the yard, and sat on the back porch in the afternoon breezes. Mother worked at the Riverside Casino, in Laughlin, Nevada until her death in 1992. Dad sold the house and moved out, only to have to reclaim it when the buyer defaulted a year or so later, and so moved back into his house.
While in Kingman he made a tight friendship with a local miner, who it turned out, was a first cousin, five generations removed! (same GGGGGrandfather). This cemented the relationship. These two fellows became roommates and working partners in hunting down gold and other mineral properties. Dad also did various other mining type of stuff - drawings, layouts, mill flow calculations, etc for various folk during this time. A business relationship I continue to maintain with the roommate to this day.
Eventually, one Fall (1988) he got ill with walking pneumonia, did not get into the doctor to get it knocked down, and over a three month period, had it on and off and on and off. Eventually it killed his kidneys and he became dependant on dialysis. There never seemed to be a question of a kidney transplant due to age (79 at the time). The average dialysis patient lasts about 60 months on dialysis, before an acculumation of stuff the dialysis system can not get out builds up. Dad lasted about 50 months on dialysis, eventually succumbing to a long weekend's buildup of fluids, and finally stressing out. When he was taken the final time to the hospital, I think he had had enough. He told them, "Just let me lay here. I'll be fine in a bit." Ten minutes later he passed on at about 3:25 pm on Feb 19th, 2002. He did it his way, always.
I miss him terribly yet to this day. He was a fine, honest, upstanding, moral Man. A great Father, a role model of independence and honesty in dealings, and someone to admire. I have tried, to my best effort, to emulate him and pass those values on to my children. He was a good Man and I thank the Good Lord for having allowed his survival through that hideous war and three !!! airplane crashes to give me life and thus my beautiful children life.