BOOTHBAY HARBOR — The most interesting man in the world has gone to meet his maker. John Buck, 76, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 7, at St. Andrews Village, Boothbay Harbor. He was a teacher, a shopkeeper and an adventurer. When asked about the safety hazards of the old clunker he used to drive, he said, “I like to live on the edge.” And that he did.

Mr. Buck was his preferred form of address. He leaves behind three grandkids by his daughter, Heather: Amos and twins Thomas and Cyrus. When the eldest was born, he was asked what the grandchild should call him. His first response was, “Mr. Buck.” He eventually settled on PawPaw, a moniker fitting for the boys who live south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mr. Buck was born in Boothbay Harbor on March 1, 1942, the son of Clifford Buck and Katherine (Thompson) Buck. Back in the 1940s, they did not have ultrasound technology so no one knew his mother had been carrying twins. John’s brother, Bill, was delivered first, and then the doctor said, “Something else is trying to come out — it must be a tumor!” And that tumor was John.

He attended local schools and graduated from Boothbay Harbor High School. In college at the University of Maine at Machias, he lived off campus and partied so much that his landlord evicted him. Compelled to take up residency in the dorms, Mr. Buck was the only person in the history of Maine school systems to get kicked onto campus.

He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, was a member of the American Legion Post in Boothbay and a member of the Masonic Lodge.

John taught business and accounting at Mount Ararat High School, and later owned and operated Handy Andy’s convenience store in Yarmouth. In his retirement, he worked for Lewiston Variety under the honorific of clerk emeritus.


He served in the Maine Legislature, where he made entertaining speeches from the floor, once citing the statue of Minerva that sits atop the State House as disgraced for the lack of wisdom demonstrated by the politicians working below her.

In the 1960s, he lived out west, developing computerized timestamp machines for workers clocking in for their shifts. He understood computers well until the advent of smartphones. He could never figure out how to check his voicemail. Mr. Buck was a man of learning, and read unceasingly. His daughter, Sarah, once took a measuring tape to his personal library and calculated that he had 200 square feet of books. He had been writing a book about the Horatio Hall, a steamship captained by his grandfather. Sarah, a writer herself, plans to compile his research and release the book.

A constant traveler, he spent many winters in Clearwater, Fla., and in the summertime he found guest rooms in homes across the state of Maine. His own home in Boothbay Harbor is nicknamed “The Bilge” — a party house where the whiskey flowed and everyone was welcome.

Mr. Buck is predeceased by his wife, Pauline Buck; his sister, Barbara Buck Grover; twin brother, Bill Buck, who used to raise all kinds of hell with him. They enlisted in the Air Force together, and during basic training Mr. Buck was unable to pass the rifle exam. He switched dog tags with Bill, and became a sharpshooter overnight.

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