Joan S. Buck, a former educator and businesswoman, died Friday evening at Maryland General Hospital after being stricken with a heart attack at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. She was 86.

Joan Stewart Elliott, the daughter of a stockbroker and a homemaker, was born in New York City and raised in Charlottesville, Va.

After graduating from St. Anne's High School in Charlottesville, she earned a bachelor's degree in 1946 in chemistry from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

After college, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a lab technician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and then joined the biochemistry department at the University of Virginia.

In 1948, she married Richard Bayly Buck Jr., a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, and three years later the couple settled on a Greenspring Avenue farm.

Mr. Buck, who had been president and chairman of the Valleys Planning Council and former director of Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson, died in 2007.

During the 1960s, Mrs. Buck taught chemistry at the Garrison Forest School, and in the 1970s joined Doncaster Fashions, the women's fashion designer, where she worked for more than two decades.

She served as the company's regional manager for Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region until stepping down in the 1990s.

For years, Mrs. Buck's philanthropic interests centered on Paul's Place Outreach Center in Southwest Baltimore, where she served on the board and led the organization's building committee.

Because Mrs. Buck persuaded Whiting-Turner Construction Co. to complete the work at cost, Paul's Place was able to move from its former waterfront site to an outreach center in the 1100 block of Ward St. in 1996.

"They were able to expand existing programs, introduce new initiatives and resume the hot-lunch program," said her son, Richard Bayly Buck III of Hydes. "Paul's Place now offers more than a dozen services and programs to low-income individuals and families in the area, serving over 69,000 hot lunches in 2009 alone."

Mrs. Buck, who had lived at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson since 2007, also volunteered for more than 30 years with the Valleys Planning Council. She also was an avid bridge player and regularly subscribed to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Center Stage and the Hippodrome Theatre.

She was a longtime communicant at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Garrison, where services were held Wednesday.

Also surviving are two daughters, Laura Speed Buck of Towson and Gabrielle Buck Bennett of Ely, England; and four grandchildren.

- Frederick N. Rasmussen

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