Sara Long Buck, 83, philanthropist and Phillies part-owner

Sara Long Buck
Sara Long Buck
Posted: August 28, 2014

Sara Long "Sally" Buck, 83, a philanthropist and part-owner of the Phillies, died Saturday, Aug. 23, of heart failure at her home in Princeton.

Before Saturday night's game at Citizens Bank Park against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phillies held a moment of silence in her memory.

"Sally was loved by many in the Phillies organization from front office staff to players to fellow owners," team president David Montgomery said in a statement. "Her passing leaves the club with a profound sense of loss."

Mrs. Buck and her husband, Alexander K. "Whip" Buck, became part of the Phillies' ownership group in December 1981. She was the second Phillies owner to die this year; Claire Betz died in February. The team has been wearing Mrs. Betz's initials on its uniforms this season.

According to her family, Mrs. Buck's Christian faith and her special regard for nature, children, and animals guided her many contributions to the communities of Princeton; Hobe Sound, Fla.; Cape Cod, Mass.; and midcoast Maine.

Her family said "her heart" led them to create the Horizon Foundation Inc., a family philanthropy that makes grants for education and conservation causes in many states.

"She was a wise, loving, kind, devoted, selfless, and generous woman with an untiring sense of humor and a long repertoire of one-liners," her family said in a tribute.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Mrs. Buck moved with her family to Pensacola, Fla., at times, so her father, Col. Norman Herbert Long, could train with the Air Force Reserve.

She graduated from Roland Park Country School and attended Goucher College, both in Baltimore. Her sister, Margaret, died in 1977.

Mrs. Buck became a die-hard Phillies fan after she married Alexander Buck in 1954, and moved with him to Princeton. When he died in 2010, Mrs. Buck and her sons, Alexander K. Buck Jr. and N. Harrison Buck, became partners in the ownership of the Phillies.

She cheered the team through the long, difficult seasons when they lost, and rejoiced as they became a force to be reckoned with, especially when they won the World Series in 2008.

She often kept score at baseball games in Philadelphia, and when out of town, she and her husband listened to games on her car radio from a hilltop overlooking their summer home in Maine.

Mrs. Buck made it clear that she valued everyone in the Phillies organization. "Her positive, can-do spirit lifted the team," her family said.

She found time to be a busy volunteer at Trinity Church in Princeton, serving at the church's front desk and on its vestry and altar guild, and helping with its rummage sale.

She gave to many institutions in Princeton and volunteered as well. The groups included Princeton Hospital and its Christmas Boutique, Princeton Day School's board of trustees, the Contemporary Garden Club, and Historic Morven, a home preservation group.

She served on the altar guild of Christ Church Chapel of Hobe Sound. She was a season-ticket holder for the Philadelphia Orchestra and attended concerts until just before her death.

Above all, she was a wonderful mother. "Mom was always Pete's and my biggest fan, and offered unconditional love," Alexander Buck Jr. said.

Surviving, in addition to her sons, are five grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, at Trinity Church of Princeton followed by a reception at the Nassau Club of Princeton. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to Trinity Church, 33 Mercer St., Princeton, N.J. 08540, or to the Princeton Area Community Foundation, 15 Princess Rd., Lawrenceville, N.J. 08648.


Inquirer staff writer Marc Narducci contributed to this article.

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