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Leslie Earl Buck, 96

Leslie Earl Buck, 96, passed away Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Austin, Minnesota, in the arms of his daughters.

Leslie Earl Buck, 96

Leslie was born on Nov. 23, 1921, to Herbert and Flossie on the Buck farm in Greenfield, Iowa. He attended Grand River Country School through the eighth grade and graduated from Greenfield High School in 1937. He finished two years of community college in Creston, Iowa, in 1939. Over the following three years, he farmed with his dad and brother while enrolled at Iowa State University, attending during the spring quarters.

Leslie was drafted into the Army on Aug. 15, 1942. He was in the 10th Mountain Division before being transferred to the 389th Quartermaster Truck Company. Leslie served in the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign in the Aleutian Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines. He participated in the battles of Leyte, Mindoro and Luzon. He was discharged Dec. 29, 1945.

The following is an excerpt from a letter Dad wrote home during the war:

“Just heard the 9:45 p.m. news and am so thrilled with the things I know and I can’t sleep so will write you. Isn’t it wonderful, the way we filtered through their lines and released all the American, British and Dutch soldiers! […] I’m proud of you folks back there, content to do the tedious tasks, without glory. You’ve kept the row clean and your prayers are being answered, only if you have the patience. It’s given me a lot of pleasure in being in on this thing. I shall never forget that Sunday afternoon when we heard the fall of Corregidor over ‘We The People.’ I will never forget the mist in your eyes, mother. You were conscious of my silent tears. You have been a swell pair of people. Always trying to be cheerful when things were black. You have carried your burdens, heavy hearts laden with the uncertainties of war. Now is time to swallow the lump and rejoice!”

Leslie graduated from Iowa State University in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry. On Oct. 10 of that year he married Jane Frances Bartlett. They lived in Austin as he started his career at Hormel. Their first daughter, Rhonda Jane, was born in 1950. The family moved to Clarion, Iowa, where Cynthia Marie was born in 1954. From Clarion, the family moved to Jefferson, Iowa, and then to Fort Dodge, Iowa, where Barbara Anne was born. After living in Fort Dodge for 21 years, Dad was transferred to Mitchell, South Dakota. The final move was back to Austin.

He lost his wife, Jane, in August of 1990, shortly after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. He was blessed to be united in marriage with Catherine Louise in December of 1992. The last 25 years have been a whirlwind of all the joys of a blended family.

Dad was a pilot and flying was his passion. He would volunteer to work one week each summer at the aviation museum during the Oshkosh Fly-in. On the ground he loved to fish, hunt, ski and garden. In every town that Dad lived he made life-long friends. No matter what part of the country he was in, he could manage to find someone from the Midwest to chat with. After retirement, he volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army, the Austin Public School System, and AARP Senior Tax Service. He was a member of the Lions Club, Kiwanis, Masonic Temple, EAA and the American Legion.

Leslie is survived by his wife, Catherine; his three daughters, Rhonda Rocap, Cynthia (Douglas) Brienzo, Barbara (Kevin) Briggs; three step daughters, Marta (Jim) Kramer, Kim Slotterback, Janet (Gene) Mohler; seven grandchildren; three great grandchildren and one on the way; four nieces and a nephew.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane; parents; brother, Audra; and sister, Ada.

The memorial service will be at 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 802 4th St. SW, Austin, with the Reverend Michael Olmsted officiating. It was Dad’s wish that his body be donated to the department of Anatomy at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Burial will be in Iowa at the Greenfield Cemetery in 2019.

Memorials are preferred in Leslie’s name to the Hormel Cancer Institute.