Erwin L. “Buck” Coveney, formerly of Richmond, Ind., died May 7, 2019, age 96, in hospice at the Dubose Health Center of The Cedars, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, surrounded by his family.
Buck and his wife Dorothy moved to Richmond, Ind., in 1961; after her death in 2005, he sold their property and moved away from the area, having been a member of the Richmond community for 45 years.
Born in Detroit, MI, in 1922, the only child of Erwin F. Coveney and Orma Dorsey Coveney, Buck graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (class of 1944), following which he enlisted in the US Navy. He attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, received his commission as an ensign, and entered active duty in the Pacific on the light cruiser USS Atlanta. He married Dorothy Prussing at the end of April 1944 before shipping out.
Atlanta served with Admiral Halsey’s famed Fast Carrier Task Force operating south of Japan near Okinawa to support forces fighting for that island. During later operations, the cruiser took part in several shore bombardment missions against the Japanese home islands; she was operating off the coast of Honshu when the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Atlanta earned two battle stars for her World War II service.
Following his Navy service Buck entered into a long and distinguished business career, starting with Eureka-Williams, moving to Montgomery Ward and Company in Chicago, then came to Richmond to join Moto-Mower, a division of the Dura Corporation. He later became president of Kemper Cabinets in Richmond, a division of the Tappan Company, eventually owned by Electrolux after its acquisition of White Consolidated Industries (WCI). Buck retired as Vice President of WCI and President of WCI’s Cabinet Group. With his retirement in 1988 he dedicated himself to local charities and nonprofits, serving on the Governing Board of Reid Hospital (1994-2002); as co-chairman of the United Way; board member for the YMCA; and board member and Treasurer of Forest Hills C.C.
His many years of service to the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County included more than twenty years as a member of the Board of Directors (for which he was made a “Lifetime Board Member” in 2007); president of the Board from 1990-91 (during which he formed the Board of Trustees as a separate board to oversee the Club’s endowments) and treasurer from 1993-2007; he served as Major Gifts Chair of the Capital Campaign Cabinet, raising $3.6 million for the new Richard E. Jeffers Boys & Girls Club, was active in site selection, and served as a consultant to the Executive Director during the construction phase of the Jeffers facility, in addition to serving on multiple strategic planning committees. He was recognized as Board Member of the Year in 1986 and 1990, and was presented with the Club’s “Man and Youth Award” in 1992 (its highest-level Board award) and the “Bob Rosa Presidents Award” in 2003.
He is survived by his companion the past twelve years, Nancy Davis Meyer; his sons Michael (Marianne) of Gainesville, FL; Peter (Karen) of Westport, CT; and Christopher (Yazmin) of Lafayette, CO; six grandchildren (Joakim, Andreas, Benton, Nina, Maxwell, and Caden); and three great-grandchildren (Samantha, Isak, and Jensen). Always fair, always honest, with a great zest for life and a great sense of humor, he was determined, strong, and generous. He loved his work as an engineer/executive, he loved sports (golf, tennis, cards) the outdoors (hunting and fishing), farming, his many friends, and especially his family. In essence, he loved life. We will never forget him.
Arrangements coordinated by Cremation Society of the Carolinas, Raleigh.