Alexander Knapp "Whip" Buck, 80, of Princeton, a business leader and Phillies owner, died Sunday, Oct. 24, at Capital Healthcare Hospital in Trenton.

In 1981, Mr. Buck and his two brothers, J. Mahlon Jr. and William C., were among the limited partners who purchased the Phillies from the Carpenter family for $30.2 million. According to published reports, the brothers own about 30 percent of the team.

"The two things that appealed to them were that they loved the sport, and they followed it as kids," Phillies president David Montgomery said. "They saw the Phillies as a Philadelphia institution."

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, "It's a tough loss. He's a very special man. He will be missed."

Mr. Buck and his brothers founded TDH, a venture capital firm. They are descendants of Mahlon Kline, who cofounded Smith Kline Pharmaceuticals in the 1870s. Mr. Buck was a former vice president of Smith Kline & French, now GlaxoSmithKline.

Mr. Buck attended the Haverford School and graduated from the Hun School of Princeton, where he played football and baseball and was later named to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.

He attended Lafayette College and served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Jonathan Brougham, headmaster of the Hun School, wrote in a tribute: "Mr. Buck's memory at the Hun School is literally set in stone because we are fortunate to have a memorial to his generosity; our middle school and student activity center are housed in a building that bears his name.

"In addition to the physical legacy he bestowed on us, his influence and kindness will always live here. As a member of our board of trustees, he worked to ensure the Hun School was strong in three critical areas: faculty support and retention, financial aid for students who need it, and the school's financial stability."

Mr. Buck was emeritus trustee of the Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton Bank & Trust Co., the YMCA of Princeton, and Kieve Affective Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the aspirations of young people through summer camps in Maine.

In 1996, he, his wife and children founded the Horizon Foundation to support environmental and arts education, leadership development for children, and conservation across Maine.

He had spent summers sailing, swimming, canoeing, and fishing in Maine since his childhood, his family said, and worked to conserve the land he loved in Nobleboro, Maine, and in Princeton.

"The family had a home up in Maine, and it used to be a challenge for them to watch [the Phillies] in July or August," Montgomery said. "For years, they'd listen on 1210, and later they were able to watch the games on the computer. Invariably . . . he had always watched the game."

Montgomery added: "He really was a kind, warm gentleman. . . . He offered words of encouragement to everyone during the good cycles and some in the not-so-good cycles."

Mr. Buck sang with the Palmer Squares in Princeton and enjoyed pounding out hymns and boogie-woogie on the piano; played golf at Bedens Brook Club in Skillman, N.J.; and played tennis at Pretty Brook Tennis Club in Princeton.

In addition to his brothers, Mr. Buck is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sara Long Buck; sons Alexander Jr. and Norman; five grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 33 Mercer St., Princeton.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or
Inquirer staff writer Bob Brookover contributed to this article.