The Delaroderie Website

News - Bucky


Bucky was the kind of person who always had more projects-- most of them self-initiated-- than he ever had the time to handle. Contributing to this dedicated page was but one of many things that he was going to do when he got a chance. Unfortunately, he never got the chance, so I will try to do this page justice for him.

Bucky was an exceptionally intelligent man with a near photographic memory. His ability to recall facts and figures, his grasp of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and many other intellectual fields of study was something he took great pride in. His command of the English language was phenomenal-- he could probably quote any part of Harbrace’s reference by heart. He was also a proud member of MENSA, and stood tall even among its exceptional members.

As is often the case with exceptionally gifted people, Bucky was also highly eccentric, and often found the social niceties difficult at best and tedious at worst. Yet in his later years he developed incredible empathy with animals in need, and developed a reputation for taking in and caring for a large number of our four-legged friends for many years. At one point, he and Patsy had up to twelve animals both inside and outside their home, although the number usually hovered around five or six. In the last few years of his life, he delighted in photographing and collecting hundreds of pictures of animals.

One of Bucky’s favorite pastimes was taking long solitary trips around the United States, visiting our country’s spectacular scenery. You could mention almost any spot in America and he could instantly tell you the relevant highway numbers, exit numbers and available services, and more. Once he saw it on a map or visited the area, he never forget such details that most of us can’t remember in a week or so.

Bucky also loved ‘working’ on the computer since the 80’s. In the beginning, he was a master of DOS, then made the transition to Windows with great reluctance. He was highly proficient in graphics processing, and then quickly embraced the functionality of Microsoft’s Works, subsequently using this integrated software suite to efficiently maintain everything from banking records to grocery lists.

Bucky was a skilled carpenter, electrician, plumber, and many other such crafts. Also, he was an accomplished cook, with a stunning library of recipes, unusual foods, spices, etc., in his head available for instant recall.

In so many ways, Bucky stood far above most of us, but he also had his share of shortcomings. He didn’t believe in celebrating holidays, birthdays, or any kind of anniversaries. Expressing emotion didn’t come easily for him. He had an occasional lack of tolerance for the ineptitude of others. He tended to hedonistic behavior, including an epicurean indulgence that would eventually lead to diabetes.

But his positive qualities and abilities easily swayed the scales of judgment in good favor. To me, his most admirable attribute was his effortless honesty. If a stranger handed Bucky a million dollars in cash to hold for a month or so, there was absolutely no question of its being there for return. The idea of doing anything with that money would never even occur to him. He just wasn’t wired for deviousness, deceit, or duplicity.

At home late in the afternoon on Thursday, August 10, 2006, Bucky had a massive aneurysm in a major abdominal artery. A few hours later at the old Baton Rouge General Hospital, the doctors turned the respirator off. Bucky had just turned 78 years old less than three weeks before.

Ever the eccentric, Bucky wanted his body to be delivered to a medical school for research. The University of Texas in Houston quickly accepted his noble request, and he was immediately transported to Houston. Almost two years later, they returned his ashes to Patsy. It was Bucky’s wish that his son Rad spread his ashes at the North Rim of Grand Canyon, which was his favorite place to visit. In June 2009, I honored his request.

As his firstborn son, I know I will often wish that I could talk to him, especially about matters of facts and figures that he took such pride in sharing with others. Although he found it difficult to express emotion, I always made him hug me when I visited with him during my annual trips to Louisiana. I’m glad I got to hug him one last time just a few weeks before he died. If I had just known, I would have hugged him a little longer.