James Michael (Mike) Buck
Sept. 17, 1957 – Oct. 27, 2018
The Rev. James Michael (Mike) Buck died with the confidence of Christ’s redemption and love on Oct. 27. The peaceful look on his face at his death confirmed his readiness to enter God’s presence.
Born to James Norman and Sara Jane (Brush) Buck on Sept. 17, 1957, in Brazil, Indiana, Mike completed the family.
“Two people never enjoyed a baby more,” Sara once told one of her granddaughters.
Mike attended Brazil High School, graduating in 1976, then attended Olivet Nazarene University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in pastoral counseling. He joined the school’s elite choir, Orpheus, and earned a reputation for being witty and somewhat bullheaded. At Olivet, he met the love of his life, Dale Christine Metcalf, although their relationship almost never happened.
“She was engaged to someone else,” Mike liked to remind everyone.
They married on Dec. 21, 1979, and soon had two sons, T.J. and Michael William.
Mike and Dale opened their home to their sons’ friends, who enjoyed Mike’s sense of humor.
“My friends said he was always good for a laugh,” Michael recalled.
Mike was ordained by the Church of the Nazarene in 1986 and was a licensed minister with the denomination for 44 years.
The family served in several Nazarene churches, including those in Chesterfield, Fortville, Springs Valley and DeMotte, all in Indiana, and in Darbydale, Ohio. Mike and Dale worked as a team, providing not only biblical teaching but music ministry and counseling to each congregation.
Mike also served as the Northwest Indiana District’s youth president for several years, providing guidance to dozens of Nazarene youth groups in the district.
While at Springs Valley, Mike volunteered with the fire department. His first fire was the largest in French Lick’s history – and most of Main Street burned down.
Mike retired from full-time pastoral ministry in 2010.
During his lifetime, Mike acquired affinities for hunting, reading and writing, loves he passed on to his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. His faith in Christ, though, is his greatest legacy.
For many years, Mike fought heart and circulatory problems. He used every opportunity to share his faith with those around him. After his last hospital stay, he told his sister, Susan, that he felt he spent his time there ministering to the staff.
“Mike said it was God’s confirmation that he still had a ministry,” Susan shared.
Yet Mike was physically tired. His wife and sons knew his health was not improving and did everything they could to help and encourage him. Dale said she and Mike spent the last few weeks of his life talking about various issues, which she said was a gift from God.
“We were ready. We left no words unspoken,” Dale assured the family.
His dad, Jim, said he has peace.
“I have so many wonderful memories,” Jim said with a smile. “So many.”
Mike was preceded in death by his mother, Sara.
In addition to his wife and sons, Mike is survived by his father, Jim (Brazil, Indiana); his sister Susan (Roger) Shanks (Marion, Indiana); grandchildren Joshua, Hailey, Elijah and Judah (Grove City); several sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, and close friends.
Visitation will be Friday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 3, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Lifepoint Church of the Nazarene (3915 Dublin Rd., Columbus, OH 43221).
The Rev. Mark Hinshaw, one of Mike’s closest friends, and the Rev. Brad Kochis will officiate Mike’s funeral at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Interment will be at later date.