A retired elementary school educator, Emma Lou Buck first became interested in education in high school, when she would volunteer to read stories to children. This interest was cemented during her time working at the Cincinnati YWCA Summer Camp during her undergraduate education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, from which she earned a Bachelor of Science in arts and sciences in 1958. She continued her studies with a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1969 and became certified as an elementary school teacher in the state of Ohio.
Beginning her career as an elementary teacher in the Ashtabula Area City Schools in 1969, Ms. Buck spent nearly three decades with the school district. During this time, she returned to school and obtained a Master of Education from Edinboro University in 1983 and later become involved as workshop leader in the school district in 1989 and 1990. Over the years, Ms. Buck found profound gratification in her work as every year brought new experiences with the new students and she always found her interactions with her students to be her greatest achievements. She retired from her role as an educator in 1998.
Alongside her primary career responsibilities, Ms. Buck spent five years writing newspaper projects for students that were published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s annual Newspaper in Education. She also maintained professional affiliation of the National Education Association, the Ohio Education Association, the North Eastern Ohio Education Association, the International Literacy Association and the Ashtabula Area Teachers Association, where she served as the vice president from 1977 to 1979. Since her retirement she has become a lifetime member of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association.
Active civically as well, Ms. Buck holds life membership in the Sigma Sigma Sigma Social Sorority of Miami and is a member of the Ashtabula County Woman’s Club and the Women’s Fortnightly Club, where she spent two years as secretary and three years as president. She has also been greatly involved in the Saybrook United Methodist Church. First serving as a lay leader for the church from 1987 to 1991, she chaired the administrative board from 1991 to 2010. She also spent six years as the director of the after school program and, for 30 years, she chaired the church’s incredibly successful Christmas fundraising project.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Buck has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Notably, she was named Ashtabula County’s Senior Citizen of the Year by the Senior Care Network of Ashtabula County in 2018, and had previously received a Resolution of Recognition from the Saybrook Township Trustees. Previously featured in the fourth edition of Who’s Who in American Education, she has been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor conferred by Marquis Who’s Who.
Above all these accolades, Ms. Buck considers the highlights of her career to be the many enjoyable social studies projects her and her students undertook over the years. Some of these projects included reenactments of the ancient Greek Olympics, notebook studies on the three major Abrahamic religions, and Middle Ages projects involving constructing castles from household materials. A particular time that stands out was her decade long participation in the Ohio Geographic Bee, a geographic knowledge contest run by the Ohio Geographic Alliance. Having a student participate on the state level for each of the 10 years was an honor.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, to father Gillis Aaron Spurlock and mother Verna Branch Oxley, Ms. Buck has been happily married to her husband, Harold Eugene Buck, since 1958. Together they are the proud parents of two children, Kenneth Alan and Sheila Jean. In her free time, Ms. Buck enjoys reading, traveling, flower gardens, baking and music. Looking toward the future, she intends to continue enjoying her well-deserved retirement.