The Corner

Fergus Reid Buckley, R.I.P.

Fergus Reid Buckley, the youngest brother of our founder, is best known to long-time readers as the face in the advertisement of the Buckley School of Public Speaking. But many will also remember him, and rightly so, as a fine writer, in these and the pages of other conservative magazines. Often mistaken for Bill in appearance and polysyllabicism, Reid was fun, and as charming a man as you could meet, brandishing joy, a thousand-watt smile, and . . . exotic duds — you learned not to be surprised when he would appear at NR’s offices in a cape, lederhosen, walking stick, and an alpine hat adorned by a big feather. As nephew Christopher Buckley put it, “Reid is . . . Reid.” 

A Yale grad and, like brother Bill, a debate phenom, he left the U.S. after a stint in the Air Force, trying the life of a writer (and a pal of Ava Gardner) in Spain. He returned after a decade-and-a-half as an expatriate to set up camp in Camden, S.C., at his parents’ old winter estate, thrilled to embrace their (his!) Southern roots, and to train mumbling, slouching, and “uh”-ing out of Fortune 500 executives who attended the School, which is just what one would expect of the author of the acclaimed Speaking in Public. When he wasn’t teaching, he was writing, and while his novels, of which he wrote many (many!), did not fare too well, Reid was undaunted, and wrote (and published) them, relentlessly and eagerly, while occasionally shifting gears to level assaults, devoid of word-mincing, on America’s leftward cultural slouch and at a flaccid GOP (one piece from last spring was titled “Moral Slime and the Republican Party”).

His final years were a health struggle — emphysema (again, so like Bill) — that eventually, this week, claimed a body, but not a spirit. He leaves his love, his wife, Tasa, their ten children and many grandchildren, and many more nieces and nephews and friends, including those of us at NR, to whom he will be ever beloved. R.I.P.

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