Colby Buxton Rucker
Colby Buxton Rucker

April 26, 1937 - November 23, 2004
Born in Baltimore, Maryland
Resided in Arnold, MD


Colby Buxton Rucker, 67, a tree expert, naturalist and lifelong resident of Pines-on-the-Severn in Arnold, died Nov. 23 at his home of complications from cancer.

Mr. Rucker was born April 26, 1937, in Baltimore, the son of the late Colby Guequierre and Marcelyn Elizabeth Buxton Rucker. He was home-schooled and then attended Wroxeter-on-Severn School, boarded at Christchurch School in Virginia and graduated valedictorian from Severn School in Severna Park in 1955.

Shortly afterwards, he established Rucker Tree Experts, a regional tree-care company, which he owned and operated from 1956 until 1980. In 1981, he became supervisor of grounds at the Annapolis State Office Complex, retiring in 1998.

An accomplished naturalist, Mr. Rucker was the 2004 recipient of the Jan Hollman Environmental Education Award. Throughout his life he tirelessly shared his love of nature with others, through his involvement with environmental organizations, educational outreach programs and the governmental process. He was a three-time president of the Severn River Association, an organization through which he conducted weekly nature walks at sites along the Severn River for many years.

He was vice chairman of the Severn Scenic River Advisory board, vice chairman of the Severn River Commission, president of the Annapolis chapter of the Izaak Walton League, on the Citizens Advisory Board to the County Operating Budget and on the Citizens Advisory Board to the Nevamar Division of International Paper Corp.

In addition, he was chairman of the State Forestry board, a director of the Scenic Rivers Land Trust and a member of the Champion Tree Advisory Board of American Forests, the Eastern Native Tree Society, the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society and the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society.

Mr. Rucker was the author of "Scenic Rivers: The Severn," published in 1983 in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In 1988, he co-authored "Gems of the Severn," published by the Severn River Commission. Both books are considered authoritative guides to the natural history of the Severn River.

He was a contributor to "Walking Tour of the Trees of Historic Annapolis" and "Listening to Our Trees, a Guide to the Trees of Wardour and West Annapolis." He also authored an as-yet unpublished 400 page manuscript, "A Survey of the Vascular Flora of Anne Arundel County." He was a contributor to "The Barbary Plague," a book chronicling the bubonic plague outbreak in San Francisco in the early 20th century. Mr. Rucker's grandfather, William Colby Rucker, was the assistant surgeon general of the United States at that time.

Mr. Rucker served in the Maryland National Guard from 1955 to 1961 and the Army Reserves from 1961 to 1963.

In 1972 he acquired 25 acres of undeveloped property in Pines-on-the-Severn, which he maintained as a nature preserve. The property includes state-rare plants, eight Maryland champion trees, two national champion trees and a large pond.

He was the originator of the "Rucker Index" for comparing forest profiles for the Eastern Native Tree Society. He maintained an extensive personal collection of papers and books on the history of Anne Arundel County and Maryland.

Surviving are his wife, Elizabeth Trotter Rucker; two daughters, Jennifer Rucker Troy of Arnold and Beverly Colby Rucker of Jamaica Plain, Mass; and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Hardesty Funeral Home, 12 Ridgely Ave. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 1601 Pleasant Plains Road. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Scenic Rivers Land Trust, P.O. Box 2008, Annapolis, MD 21404.



Hardesty Funeral Home-Annapolis
12 Ridgely Avenue
Annapolis, MD US 21401
November 26, 2004
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Memorial Service
Saint Margaret's Episcopal Church
1601 Pleasant Plains Road
Annapolis, MD US 21401
November 27, 2004
2:00 PM
Druid Ridge Cemetery
Baltimore, MD US
November 27, 2004