Senior staff writer
Center Grove High School graduate Grace Buck went through a family tragedy before being named one of 16 Indiana Pacemates for the 2015-2016 basketball season.
Her path was an emotional one that sadly included the deaths of her mother, Jill, and two younger brothers, Branson and Aidan, who were killed in an accident Friday on I-65 near Lafayette.
Grace, 19, and her father, Paul Buck, spoke lovingly, admirably and sometimes humorously of Jill, Branson and Aidan, who was recalled by his older sister as being able to really shake his booty. They shared a message of their never-ending faith and of Jill’s desire to serve Jesus Christ, her family and the community.
Grace told an estimated 1,000 people at a celebration of life ceremony June 29 at Community Church of Greenwood that she may have learned some dance moves from Aidan. The celebration was described as “a beautiful tribute,” and Jill Buck was described as “a great light.”
One day later she followed her dream while keeping her faith and knowing that her mom and two brothers were cheering her on from above. Grace had her final audition that day – one last opportunity to become a Pacemate and an offical dancer and cheerleader for the Pacers.
She nailed it and became the latest story of faith and courage on the Southside. The University of Indianapolis student showed everyone how strong a young woman can be to follow a dream.
With each Pacer home game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, she will be able to tell her story again and again because she became a Pacemate one day after burying her mother and two brothers. She quickly overcame adversity, showed her strength and became an inspiration.
Grace, her father, sister Olivia and brother PJ are the remaining members of the household.
Jill was an optometrist with HealthNet, Center Grove Eye Care and Greenwood Family Eye Care. She was a member of Community Church of Greenwood and enjoyed being with her family.
Branson, 10, was a fourth-grader at Maple Grove Elementary; Aidan, 8, in the third grade at Center Grove Elementary.
Memorial contributions can be sent to Down Syndrome Indiana, 708 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202, www.dsindiana.org.
Funeral arrangements were made through Wilson St.Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory.