Griffith J. Buck

Griffith J. Buck was born to Griffith Allen and Mary Louise (Inns) Buck on April 19, 1915, in Cincinnati, Iowa. He graduated from Rockford (Illinois) Central High School  (1932) and later attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (1940-1941). During World War II, he served in the airborne infantry (1942-1945) and attained the rank of Sergeant.

After the war, he earned a B.S. (1948) and M.S. (1949) in horticulture and a Ph.D. (1953) in microbiology all from Iowa State College (University). Buck joined the staff of the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State as Instructor in 1949. He was promoted to Associate (1952-1953), Assistant Professor (1953-1958), Associate Professor (1958-1974), and Professor (1974-1985).

Buck was primarily interested in floriculture and focused on rose and geranium breeding. He is credited with developing more than 85 varieties of roses, many of them hardy enough to withstand the cold Iowa winters. He was the first to develop a hybrid blue rose. Buck was also widely known for his developments with geraniums and other flowering plants. He received patents for several varieties of roses and geraniums he developed at Iowa State.

In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, Buck served various committees and organizations. During his tenure at Iowa State he managed the Horticulture greenhouse, developed and managed the Horticulture gardens, served on the College Career Days Committee, the University Commencement Committee, and the Safety Committee. Outside of the University he was an active member of the American Rose Society serving on the Research Committee and the International Rose Registration Committee and chairing the Classification Committee. Buck also served as a judge in the pre-introductory test-program of All-America Selections, Inc.

Buck married Ruby E. Costello of Edina, Missouri, on August 31, 1947. They had two children: Mary Eileen and Susan Louise. Griffith Buck passed away on March 28, 1991.

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Resources available online

Griffith J. Buck Papers

RS 13/5/11
University Archives, Iowa State University Library

Buck Rose Website

Iowa State University

The Houston Rose Society's Page on
Griffith Buck Roses