George Buckner (1942-2002)
Born: Gifford, Florida
George Buckner was the oldest of twelve children who lived and grew up in Gifford Florida. George was an accomplished muscian who could play piano, guitar and saxaphone. When he was in the ninth grade, he dropped out of school after his father died to help support his family. To raise money George played bass guitar for nine years with a band called the Melodeons. He also worked construction and labored in the Indian River citrus groves picking oranges. Later in life he started his own lawn service and cut lawns for a living. One day in Gifford both George and his brother Ellis came accross Harold Newton while he was painting a Florida landscape. After this encounter with Harold they both started the process of learning to paint and before long they were both creating their own pictures. Both George and Ellis were taught painting techniques by Beane Backus a very talented artist from the Fort Peirce area.
George started selling his work in Vero Beach, working alone, he sold to doctors, lawyers, and to the staff at the local telephone company futhermore, he went to packinghouses where workers bought paintings for their wives. Occasionally he would go to expensive homes and give private showings. George also sold his paintings at art shows. He sometimes won awards, including a first place at the Miami Art show for a scene along Jungle Trail. George Buckner was one of the most accomplished Highwaymen painters, always striving to be a better artist, George was proud of his success.
George Buckner died from cancer on December 7, 2002 at the Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach. He passed away just two weeks after the Highwaymen were featured on the front page of the New York Times art section. His son Reuben says he was a kind and quiet man who was always ready to help someone. He had an unwavering love for his family and a strong talent in both art and music.
George Buckner Biography information: obtained from website thehighwaymentrail.com. This website is a fantastic reference to learn about the 26 Florida Highwaymen artists and their importance to Florida's history.