Robert “Buck” Weinfurter
Eighty-two years ago, Robert Joseph “Buck” Weinfurter was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Roman “Joe” and Adelaide Weinfurter. He earned the nickname “Buck” when his father started calling him his “little buckaroo” and “Buck” stuck. Three years later, the family relocated to Southern California, settling in South Gate, California. Buck was a very intelligent child and performed well in school.When Buck was 10, he began working in a bowling alley to supplement his family’s income. He graduated at age 16 from St. Pius High School in 1956. He was accepted to St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California and worked two and three jobs to make ends meet while attending college. He received a letter of recommendation to apply for entrance to West Point from Senator Dole. He applied and was accepted to West Point, graduating in June 1962. He married Judy Webb, a hometown girl from South Gate and the love of his life, in March 1963. They welcomed their first daughter, Elyce, in 1964, and their second, Laurell, in1965. From January 1966–January 1967, Buck served in the Special Forces in Vietnam. Buck was awarded the Silver Star for heroism and courage in battle. During his tour in Vietnam, he felt very fortunate to meet John Wayne when he was researching for his hit film “The Green Berets.” Buck and Judy welcomed their third daughter, Cynthia in 1968. Buck returned to Army Air Defense following his return from Vietnam, and eventually headed the brigade that installed the first Nike missiles in Germany. Buck and his family were stationed all over the country – California, North Carolina (twice), Oklahoma, New York, Colorado, South Korea, Alabama, Virginia (twice), and West Germany (twice).He earned a Master’s degree in Counseling from Troy State University in one year. In his final years serving in the Army, he transitioned back home to the Special Forces and was assigned as their Commander. He retired from the Army in December 1988. He briefly worked for the City of Lynwood after retiring, but soon found a new home with Downey School District as its Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Director. During his time at DUSD, he remodeled nearly every school and built new schools. He kept bus transportation running smoothly and all the daily operations well within the district budget. He worked there for 25 years, retiring when he was 75. Buck embodied the concept of service over self, and demonstrated integrity, an unwavering loyalty to God and his country, generosity, dignity and quiet courage. He had much to be proud of, but was never prideful. He always made time for people in need, and spent whatever time was needed to support people in crisis. He was also very dedicated to his family. He did everything possible to give his daughters a good start in life, and continued doing the same with his grandchildren and then his great grandchildren. There was no better brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend born on this Earth than Buck Weinfurter. He spent his life improving this world through every encounter he had. Buck is survived by Judy, his beloved wife of over 58 years, three daughters, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He enjoyed hitting the links with his family and friends, and was a loyal supporter of the Green Bay Packers (as a nod to his beginnings in Milwaukee) and the Anaheim Angels. Buck was not just a good man but a great man, and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.