Posted on: March 15, 2016 9:13 am
We are sad to announce the passing of Mr. James C. “Buck” Alban, Jr. on Sunday March 13, 2016 aged 98. Mr. Alban was the second dealer principal of Alban Tractor Co. Inc. and led the company through parts of six different decades.
A Letter From His Grandson And Current Dealer Principal Jamie Alban
“It is with a heavy heart that I pass on some sad news – my grandfather, Buck Alban, passed away peacefully yesterday – he was 98.
Mr. Buck, as most of you knew him, was only 3 pounds when he was born on October 11, 1917. He grew into a 6’4”, 230 lb fullback at Georgia Tech after graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. His college football career was cut short by what we now know as an ACL tear. It was not able to be fixed back then, and he lost his scholarship.
He transferred to Lehigh University and then started full time at Alban Tractor in the early 1930’s. Because of his knee injury, he was denied a chance for a commission in the Marine Corps at the onset of World War II. He served our country working for the OSS, which later became the CIA.
Buck and my great grandfather, Jim Alban, led our company through some very lean years during the Great Depression, and put the company in good position to grow significantly after World War II. The GI Bill, Interstate Highway Program, and US housing market fueled Alban Tractor’s growth from a small equipment house to the dominant Caterpillar dealer it became in 1950’s and 60’s.
Buck really was a wonderful person – a strong, gentle giant of a man who was friendly to all and totally without airs. He was comfortable with national and local politicians, bank presidents, Caterpillar CEO’s, but preferred the company of everyone who worked at Alban and with our customers. He had a presence and charisma that made him a natural leader in our industry and on the many boards of directors he served on throughout his life.
I’ve never met anyone who knew my grandfather that had anything but the greatest things to say about him. Almost everyone who knew him usually had a story about how he helped them in some way or another that he never told anyone else about. He loved Alban Tractor, and he loved his family.
I was lucky to have been very close with him my entire life. It started with me spending a lot of Friday nights at his and my grandmother’s house and going into the office on Saturday mornings with him. He taught me about business, life, love of family as I grew up and started my career at the company in the summers when I was in school. He had a never ending supply of stories from the early days of Alban Tractor and Caterpillar that were always fascinating.
He was still coming into the office and driving himself around everywhere at 90 years old. He broke his hip in 2007, and it took a long time to heal. He struggled with not being able to be self-sufficient and having to slow down quite a bit. My grandmother, Madeleine, passed away two years ago. She and Buck were married for 74 years, and truly were each other’s soul mates. It has not been easy for him since then, as the past two years have seen a gradual decline. I am thankful that he died peacefully in his sleep.
Nothing brought Buck more joy than his great-grandchildren in his later years, and they all loved their Pop Pop! I will miss him terribly, as he was one of the very few people who was larger than life as a child, and became even bigger as I grew up.”