Friday, May 25, 2018
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Warren E. Buckey, 1926-2012: Lawyer led accounting firm, UT trustees

Warren E. Buckey, a lawyer who was managing partner of the Toledo office of a leading public accounting firm and a former chairman of the University of Toledo board of trustees, died Tuesday in Mercy Health Partners, Muskegon, Mich. He was 86.

He had cancer, his son John said. A resident of Naples, Fla., since the late 1990s, he and his wife, Jan, spent the summers at Epworth Heights in Ludington, Mich. He had visited the resort every summer of his life, his son said.

Mr. Buckey, formerly of Toledo and Ottawa Hills, retired from the law firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, where he was a legal and financial consultant. His longest affiliation was with Arthur Young & Co., from which he retired in 1988 as senior partner. He was managing partner of the firm's Toledo office for about 10 years.

He came to Toledo in 1955 when he became an associate of the law firm then called Eastman, Stitcher & Smith. He was named a partner in 1961. He worked for Arthur Young before he became a financial and administrative vice president of Donovan Wire and Iron Co.

Whether as a lawyer or with a public accounting firm, "what he enjoyed most was working with companies and helping them work through some of their issues," his son said. "He had a great interest in helping businesses grow."

He was a certified public accountant, and his training in business and the law allowed him to examine those issues from several points of view.

"Overall, he had a tremendous sense of what was the right way and the smart way to work through things," his son said. "He had a great knack for being able to put people together and solve problems."

Mr. Buckey had a long record of community service and was particularly proud of his work with UT.

"He loved the University of Toledo," his son said. "He had a very strong sense of community. He always preached that you should be giving to your community; you shouldn't just be receiving from them.

"He believed strongly in education. He felt education had provided him tremendous opportunities."

He was a former trustee and co-chairman of the board of Siena Heights College in Adrian and, in March, 1980, was appointed a community-at-large member of the UT athletic board of control.

Gov. James A. Rhodes appointed him to a nine-year term on the UT board of trustees in July, 1980. He was chairman in October, 1988, when the board hired Frank Horton, a former University of Oklahoma president, to lead UT. Mr. Horton was university president until December, 1998.

Mr. Buckey also was on the UT Foundation board of trustees.

After his tenure on the boards, he largely kept his own counsel on university affairs.

"He didn't want to jump in and step on someone's toes who was working hard to accomplish what was best for the university or otherwise," his son said. "Until the end he remained very proud of the University of Toledo and what happened there."

Mr. Buckey was a leader of several civic groups through the years. He was former co-chairman of the Toledo Area Governmental Research Association and of the Committee of 100, a group of public and private sector leaders formed in the 1980s to focus on economic development and quality-of-life issues. He was a former trustee of the Toledo-Lucas County Convention & Visitors' Bureau.

"He was very good at going into situations and being able to get people to come to the table, maybe despite some differences, and trying to get them to agree on things, whether with the city or going into a business," his son said.

"What really typified my father was honesty, fairness, and integrity."

He was a past president of the Downtown Coaches Association.

He formerly was on the boards of Trustcorp and of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Despite years in the public eye, "overall, he was relatively private," his son said. "He was a fun-loving guy with people he knew well."

He was born May 17, 1926, in Barberton, Ohio, to Eulalia and the Rev. Harold Buckey. His father was a Methodist minister, and as his father's church assignments changed, the family moved. He was a graduate of Buchtel High School in Akron.

He received a bachelor's degree from Baldwin-Wallace College and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1951.

He liked to golf and play tennis. He was a member of the Toledo Country Club and the Toledo Club.

Surviving are his wife, Mary Janet Buckey, whom he married Aug. 26, 1950; sons, John, Keith, Jay, and Scott Buckey; daughter, Janice Cain; brothers, Merwyn and the Rev. David Buckey, and 13 grandchildren.

Visitation is to be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Walker Funeral Home. Services are to be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Epworth United Methodist Church, Ottawa Hills, where he was a longtime member.

The family suggests tributes to the Warren and Jan Buckey Graduate School Scholarship fund at the UT Foundation or the Epworth Memorial Foundation in care of the Epworth Assembly, Ludington, Mich.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182

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