Buck Owens, 76
Buck Owens died Saturday at the age of 76 of heart failure. Growing up, my father was involved in the country music business. Buck's TV show "Hee Haw" was a staple around our house. Buck did it all - had numerous number 1 hits (some even covered by The Beatles), had a top television show for over 20 years and was a significant owner of broadcast properties in California. Buck was said to be worth over $100 million.
My last memories of Buck were from my years as a state officer for the California Junior Chamber, culiminating as the State President in 2004. We would often make treks to visit chapters in Northern California, driving many a Friday night up the 5 or Highway 99. I'd tune in Buck doing his live show from his nightclub, The Crystal Palace on his radio station KUZZ. Buck and his band would perform various country numbers with audience members from all over. Indeed, Buck performed Friday night, hours before he passed away.
I got the biggest kick when Buck's co-host would call out the names of customers who were at the Palace celebrating a wedding anniversary. "Joe and Emma are here celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary. The thrice married and divorced Owens would always exlcaim "Married 26 years?!?? That's just dumb!!"
Buck is survived by three sons.