He was born in Fieldale, Va. on January 7, 1930 to Virginia White and Simon Sutton Flythe. He graduated from Fieldale High School, where he played on the basketball team with lifelong friend Dr. John Ran Smith. The two friends went through Boy Scouts together and in 1945 became the first two Eagle Scouts in Fieldale. Buck was also awarded the Boy Scout’s Order of the Arrow. He attended Duke University for a year before joining the Air Force during the Korean War. There he served as a First Lieutenant in the 64th Fighter Interceptor Squadron stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. During this time he met his future wife, Helen Heidgerken, a flight attendant with Pacific Northern Airlines. Upon honorable discharge he went on to graduate from Randolph Macon College, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and pursued graduate studies at the University of Virginia. Buck and Helen married at her home in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1957. He then went to work for Texaco in Cumberland, Maryland, where his daughter, Carolyn was later born in 1959. Soon after, the family moved to Martinsville, where Buck was employed by Walker Knitting of Bassett, Va., later to become Bassett-Walker Knitting Company. He eventually served as SVP of Administration for the company and retired after 29 years of service, when it was purchased by Vanity Fair Corporation.
Buck leaves behind Helen, his wife of 63 years, and their three children, Carolyn Flythe Thaxton (Don), Walter “Walt” White Flythe Jr. and Frances “Heidi” Flythe. He is also survived by his brother, Jesse Thomas “Tom” Flythe; grandson, Donald “Jeb” Thaxton; granddaughter, Acree Graham Macam (Eric); great-granddaughter, Lassiter Flythe Macam; and his beloved nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his sister, Margaret “Peggy” Flythe Teague and brother, Simon “Sutton” Flythe Jr.
Buck had a love for his community, most likely learned from his father. Like his father, he served on numerous community boards, including Patrick Henry Community College; the YMCA; The Red Cross; United Way; Safety Net; Martinsville Memorial Hospital; The Salvation Army; Chamber of Commerce; First National Bank of Bassett; Score; Bassett-Walker; and until recently was active in his favorite, the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of Scouting. Having actively served regionally for many years, Buck was awarded the Silver Beaver Award by the Boy Scouts of America for his distinguished service. Buck also helped found Carlisle School and served on its Board of Directors.
Buck and Helen were longstanding, active members of First Presbyterian Church of Martinsville, where Buck taught Sunday School and served in positions over the years as Deacon, Elder and Trustee.
Buck took up many hobbies in retirement, including traveling the world with Helen, woodworking, gardening, painting, building, and even brick masonry. He designed the family’s vacation home in the Blue Ridge mountains, where he loved to pass the time with family and friends.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at First Presbyterian Church at a later date. Arrangements by McKee-Stone Funeral Home.
To express condolences online, please visit www.CollinsMcKeeStoneMartinsville.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials made to any of the following First Presbyterian Church of Martinsville, Va., 1901 Patrick Henry Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112, Ph# 276-632-3431, www.firstpresbyterianmartinsville.org; Carlisle School, PO Box 5388, Martinsville, VA 24115, Ph# 276-632-7288, www.carlisleschool.org; Blue Ridge Mountains Council Boy Scouts of America, 2131 ValleyView Rd., NW, Roanoke, VA 24012, Ph# 540-265-0656, bsa-brmc.org.
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