Buck Smith

Buckley deConinck-Smith

Buckley Harold deConinck-Smith was born Oct. 21, 1928, in Glenwood, Wash., to Ove deConinck-Smith and Mary (Chandler) deConinck-Smith. He grew up and went to school in Glenwood, and also spent some of his teenage years living with his older sister, Becky, in Ilwaco, Wash., where he attended high school.

In 1949, he married a young Glenwood girl, Merdith Steinbach. They made their home at Camp Draper and had four children before moving to the Bingen-White Salmon, Wash., area. They spent 33 years together, raising their children. They enjoyed golfing, bowling, and watching their children start their own families. He was later married, for many years, to Verna Smith.

Buck was an accomplished guitar player and loved sharing his musical talent with others. There was rarely a time when he was not a part of a local band, playing music at multiple venues throughout the Columbia Gorge. The Glenwood rodeo dances were always a highlight. He was still playing music at the local area senior dances and meal sights into his late 80s.

In his midlife, he became interested in raising dahlias. He started a small flower garden that turned into a large one, cross breeding and creating his own varieties, which he always named after a special person in his life. He loved showing off his flowers and cutting bouquets to send home with anyone who stopped by.

He spent most of his working career as an equipment operator, loading logs and building roads. He retired from SDS Lumber Company, but soon decided he missed working. He continued to build roads for SDS and other local operations until his early 80s.

Buck loved people. He never knew a stranger and would sit and talk to anyone who would listen to his stories, whether it was at his home, the bowling alley, on the golf course, or sitting in a waiting room. He spent his last few months at the Prestige Care Center, in Hood River, where he passed away on Dec. 23, 2020, at the age of 92.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ove and Mary; brother Tony; and four sisters, Rebecca Eager, Caroline Kuhnhausen, Grace Garr and Margaret Hewitt; and daughter-in-law Elizabeth. He is survived by his children, Susan Rogers, White Salmon, Gary, Braintree, Mass., Kathy (Joe) Simon, White Salmon and Mary(Rick) Williams, Ellensburg, Wash.; eight grandchildren;12 great-grandchildren; and multiple nieces and nephews.

No service has been planned due to COVID restrictions. 

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Here is what Rick Hulett (another brilliant guitarist, also departed) had to say about Buck 10 years ago: "84 year old Buck Smith spent part of his WWII tour of duty as Merle Travis's rhythm guitar player on a series of USO tours. After the war he spent some time playing with Tex Williams. Lawrence Welk turned a couple of his songs into big hits for which Buck never received a dime. Figuring out that money and music don't seem to occur in the same sentence he returned home to White Salmon, WA to become the best heavy equipment operator on the west coast. We decided it was time for a little party."...

A youtube video is available of Buck playing at his "Buckfest"....here is the link...



Dear Buck! You were one of the greatest guitarists on the planet! Thank you for that glorious finger-picking & melodious musicianship that we all know & love. Its hard to imagine that your sweet soul has departed...XO

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