Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Elden Buck
Rev. Elden M. Buck, a longtime teaching mission co-worker to the islands of Micronesia, died in Honolulu on February 13, 2023, at the age of 91.
Elden and his twin sister, Helen, were born in Bell, California to the Rev. Dr. Carlton and Freida (Claassen) Buck. He was raised in Southern California and attended seminary at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. There, he met his future wife, Mary Alice Hanlin, daughter of mission workers, Rev. Dr. Harold and Mary Ruth (Martin) Hanlin, who also served in Micronesia. Elden and Alice were married in 1955 and soon after, began a student pastorate in Goltry, Oklahoma.
Elden and Alice were commissioned in 1958 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions of the United Church of Christ (a predecessor mission body now known today as Global Ministries). They were assigned to Kosrae in the East Caroline Islands and arrived with their two young daughters Lisa and Lauren. The family relocated to the Marshall Islands in 1962, serving on the tiny island of Ebeye in the Kwajalein atoll. While there, they adopted a son, Kyle.
After their mission assignment on Ebeye concluded, Elden accepted the position of Protestant Chaplain on the U.S. Army’s Kwajalein Missile Range, a position he held for the next thirteen years. It was his delight to bring together the Kwajalein community with the churches and people of Micronesia. He sponsored the Chapel Youth Fellowship and led annual two-week trips to various Micronesian destinations, introducing countless young people to these vibrant cultures. In 1980, he took a group of fifty young Micronesians from Pohnpei Island (Danpei) on a three-month concert tour around the United States.
In 1981, Elden and Alice moved to Hawai’i where he became Senior Pastor of the Korean Christian Church (UCC) in Honolulu. In 1990, he accepted a call to the First United Protestant Church (UCC) of Hilo, where they lived until his 1997 retirement. While serving both congregations, Elden continued his work and connection with Micronesians living in Hawai’i.
Following forty-three years of faithful ministry, he and Alice moved to Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California. They traveled many times back to Micronesia–she to work on Bible translation and he to do research for Island of Angels, a book he was writing about the growth of the church on Kosrae. After Alice’s death, Elden moved back to Hawai’i to be closer to his children and their families, living in Kaneohe at Pohai Nani, a Good Samaritan Retirement Community.
Celebrating a lifetime of faithful service, friends and family will gather on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at Central Union Church of Honolulu at 3:00 P.M. Elden is survived by his three children, Lisa (Stephen) Haley, Lauren Buck Medeiros, and Kyle (Marites) Buck, eight grandchildren, and numerous great grandchildren. Condolences may be mailed to the family in care of the Rev. Lauren Buck Medeiros, 1515 Ward Avenue #1005, Honolulu, HI 96822 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.