Peter Buck (restaurateur)

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Peter Buck
Born(1930-12-19)December 19, 1930[1]
DiedNovember 18, 2021(2021-11-18) (aged 90)
Alma materBowdoin College (BS)
Columbia University (MS, PhD)
Co-founder of Subway

Peter Buck (December 19, 1930 – November 18, 2021) was an American physicist, restaurateur, and philanthropist who co-founded the Subway fast-food restaurant chain alongside Fred DeLuca.

Early life and education[edit]

Buck was born on December 19, 1930 to Ervin and Lillian Bernice "Molly" (Draper) Buck, who owned a farm in South Portland, Maine. He had a younger brother named David. He and his brother grew up and worked on his parents' farm. He graduated from South Portland High School in 1948.[2][3][4] He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1952. He then earned master's and doctoral degrees in physics at Columbia University.[5][6][7]


In 1957, Buck went to work for General Electric at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. There, he performed tests and calculations on atomic power plants being developed for U.S. Navy submarines and surface ships. In 1965, he joined United Nuclear, in White Plains, New York, calculating the power distribution and refueling requirements of nuclear power plants. He finished his engineering career at Nuclear Energy Services in Danbury, Connecticut.[4]

Buck loaned partner and family friend Fred DeLuca $1,000 in 1965 and advised him to open a sandwich shop to help him pay for college at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They named the restaurant after Buck, calling it "Pete's Super Submarines".[8] Together Buck and DeLuca formed "Doctor's Associates" to oversee operations as the restaurant business expanded. Though neither the first nor the second restaurants were financial successes, they continued to expand their operations.[8] By 1973, they had 16 locations throughout Connecticut and, in 1974, they began franchising out the restaurants.[9] They also introduced a new logo and changed the name of their operation from what was then "Pete's Subway" to "Subway Sandwiches".[10]

Subway continued to grow over the ensuing years and by 2010 became the largest fast food chain worldwide, with 33,749 restaurants.[11] In 2015, Buck was ranked No. 261 on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people, with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion.[12]

Philanthropy, honors, and awards[edit]

The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation (PCLB) was formed in 1999 as a private family foundation to manage their family's philanthropy.[13] The Internet Archive received support from PCLB.[14]

Buck personally made major donations to the Smithsonian Institution, where he served as a trustee of the National Museum of Natural History, including the 23.10 carat Carmen Lúcia Ruby, given to the museum's gem collection.[15][16][4] It is thought to be one of the finest Burmese rubies known.[17] Curator Jeffrey Post called the gem “the most important addition to the collection in the 20 years that I’ve been here.”[18]

In 2008, Bowdoin College awarded Buck an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.[5] He gave a grant to Bowdoin College in 2009 that completed its capital campaign.[19] Consequently, the college's new fitness center bears his name.[7][20]

In 2014 Buck gave $30 million to Danbury Hospital towards a new addition.[21]

As of 2020, Buck was the seventh-largest landowner in the United States by acreage, according to,[22] acquiring land for the purpose of open space conservation.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Buck married Haydee Piñero in 1955, whose father Jesús T. Piñero was the first native governor of Puerto Rico. They had three children together: Christopher, Kenneth and Cynthia (Kenneth and Cynthia predeceased him). The marriage ended in divorce.[3] He later married Carmen Lúcia Passagem. They had a son together, William. They were married over 20 years when she died in 2003.[24][3]

Buck had a lifelong interest in aviation. For many years he owned and piloted a glider and remained an active member and supporter of the Soaring Society of America and the Valley Soaring Club.[4]

Buck was a long-time resident of Danbury, Connecticut.[25] He died in Danbury on November 18, 2021, a month before his 91st birthday.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter Buck 12/19/1930". Archived from the original on July 8, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  2. ^ Edwin Durgy. "Peter Buck". Forbes. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Schudel, Matt (November 21, 2021). "Peter Buck, co-founder of Subway sandwich chain, dies at 90". newstimes. Hearst Connecticut Media. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Dr. Peter Buck". Portland Press Herald. Press Herald. November 21, 2021. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "2008 Honorary Degree Recipients (Bowdoin, Office of Events and Summer Programs)". Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Peter Buck". Forbes. March 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Dedication Ceremony for Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness". Campus News. Bowdoin College. January 29, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Entrepreneur's Hall of Fame: Fred Deluca". Let's Talk Business Network.
  9. ^ "Subway Franchise Information". Entrepreneur. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  10. ^ "Subway Restaurants UK – History". July 26, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  11. ^ Jargon, Julie (March 8, 2011). "Subway Runs Past McDonald's Chain". Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  12. ^ "Forbes 400: No. 261 Peter Buck". Forbes. 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "About PCLB | PCLB Foundation".
  14. ^ "Internet Archive: About IA".
  15. ^ "Subway Co-Founder Gives Smithsonian A Gem of a Present". The Washington Post. October 13, 2004. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "Billionaire Peter Buck Buys Rare Objects and Donates Them to Smithsonian Museums". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  17. ^ "Carmen Lúcia Ruby - Smithsonian Institution".
  18. ^ "Romance and the Stone".
  19. ^ "Trustees meeting focuses on finances". The Bowdoin Orient. February 13, 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  20. ^ "Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness to Open Sept. 22, Campus News". Bowdoin College. September 8, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  21. ^ Miller, Robert (June 20, 2014). "Buck gives $30 million to Danbury Hospital". newstimes. Hearst Conn. Media.
  22. ^ "The Land Report Winter 2020". The Land Report. January 11, 2021. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  23. ^ Fishell, Darren (November 3, 2016). "The major North Woods land buy has ties to Subway's founder". BDN. Bangor Publishing Co. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  24. ^ Melanie Grayce West (June 20, 2014). "Subway Restaurant Founder Donates $30 Million to Support Danbury Hospital". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  25. ^ Soule & Turmelle (November 19, 2021). "Danbury's Peter Buck, co-founder of Subway, dies at 90". CT Insider. Hearst Connecticut Media. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  26. ^ Jemima McEvoy (November 19, 2021). "Subway's Last Surviving Founder, Billionaire Peter Buck, Dead At 90". Forbes. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  27. ^ "Subway co-founder Peter Buck dies at 90". The Independent. November 20, 2021. Archived from the original on May 25, 2022. Retrieved November 20, 2021.

External links[edit]