CLAYTON, NY — Rex Albert Buker, 86, from Clayton and formerly San Antonio, FL, passed away at his home Jan. 1, 2022, in Clayton with his family by his side, along with his wonderful caregivers.
Rex was born May 23, 1935, in Watertown, NY, the son of Melvin A. and Marguerite (Betty) Touron Buker.
Rex is survived by his children, Michael J. (Patty) of Clayton and Ft. Myers, FL, Debbie M., Centennial, CO, and John D. (Pam), Clayton; grandchildren, Curtis Buker (Aubrey), Plattsburgh, Laura Cameron (Steve), Centennial CO, Kylie Morgia (Mark), Clayton; Timothy Buker (Victoria), Reno, NV, Jenna VanThof (James), Rochester, NY, Lennon Buker, Clayton, Cara Unruh, Loveland, CO, Ariel Cornaire, Depauville, Aliceson Cornaire, Clayton; great-grandchildren, Winter, Bryanna, Jax, Rocco, Jase, Cameron, Madison, Rex; as well as twin brothers, Reginald F. Buker, Clayton, and Roger F. Buker, Sylvan Beach, NY.
Rex was predeceased by his wife, Betty Jean, his son Albert M. Buker; his parents and sisters, Lorraine A. Wiswell, Watertown and Vivian M. Sheldon, Elizabethtown, KY, and sister-in-law Mi Cha “Chris” Buker, Clayton.
Rex graduated from Copenhagen High School and later attended Clarkson University. He served in the US Army Reserves, with an Honorable Discharge in April 1961. His early career in the grocery business began with Loblaws, North Syracuse, NY where he met Betty Jean Daily, his future wife of 61 years. Later working as a store manager for Grand Union Supermarkets he was transferred to Alexandria Bay, NY, where the young family fell in love with the Thousand Islands. In 1966 Rex was offered an opportunity to buy a “Big M” supermarket franchise, moved his family to Clayton, and opened the Clayton Big M in 1967. A few years later Rex opened another Big M in Alex Bay, later selling the business to his brother-in-law, John Daily. In 2012 the business was sold and is now known as the Clayton Surefine Supermarket.
Rex was an avid sportsman. He loved spending time at his hunting camp on Cooks Pond in the Adirondacks. He was a long time member of the Cranberry Lake Fish and Game Club. He especially loved deer hunting with his father, brothers, and his sons. Rex enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren sports events, including in this last year watching hockey games through online cameras.
Rex and Betty loved to travel, going to many hockey games while their kids were growing up in the States, Canada, and Europe. They especially loved their trips to Colorado as long as they stayed out of the mountains, and the beaches of Aruba.
Rex cared deeply about community. In Clayton he held many volunteer and elected positions including, two terms on the Clayton Village Board of Trustees, lifetime honorary member of the Clayton Fire Dept., Board of Director of the Thousand Islands Museum, member of the Board of Trustees for the Antique Boat Museum, President and Zone Director of the Clayton Lions Club, President of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Clayton Minor Hockey. He also started a Junior C hockey team for older teens from the Clayton, Alex Bay, and Watertown area, later joining a competitive league in Canada. Rex was one of the founding members of the Clayton Improvement Association (C.I.A.). One of their first projects was to establish the Clayton Medical facility, and recruit two doctors to the area.
In San Antonio, FL, Rex was one of the original participants with a local ‘golf cart’ First Responders group, volunteers that assisted in emergencies before EMTs could arrive. He was active with the San Antonio Methodist Church’s men’s group, which raised funds for bikes for children, contributed to the local food pantry, and other worthwhile projects in the San Antonio area, joined a group from the Church to build homes in Costa Rica. He was recognized by the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch group as an avid supporter. Rex volunteered several years in Tampa at the Outback Steakhouse Pro Am.
Rex was a former member of the Clayton United Methodist Church in Clayton, and San Antonio United Methodist Church in Florida. In later years, he was a member of the Agape House in LaFargeville, under the ministry of Pastor Don Brient.
A memorial service will be held at a future date to be announced by the family, with burial at the Clayton Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted with Cummings Funeral Service, Inc. Clayton.
Online condolences may be posted at www.cummingfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers the family would ask that donations be made to a local charity of your choice, Alzheimer’s Association of Central NY, Franklin Square Station, Box 12226, Syracuse, NY 13218, or Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham Street, Watertown, NY 13601.