Dramatic encounter reunites classmates decades after high school

A lot of people marry high school classmates. That was the case with Whitney-area residents Keith and Sharon Buck. It just took them 36 years.

Sharon was attending a performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center with her adult daughter and son-in-law when she noticed that the actor playing Pharaoh was named Keith Buck.

"I told my daughter I used to know a Keith," Sharon said. "This Keith Buck reminded me of him but bigger and younger than he would have been."

After the performance, Sharon sought out the actor to praise his work.

"I told him I used to know a Keith Buck back in American Falls, Idaho," Sharon said. "He just grinned and said, 'I think the Keith Buck you want to see is standing behind you.' And I turned around and there he was."

The two had known each other in junior high and high school, but they had gone their separate ways after graduation. Both had married and divorced and found their way to Las Vegas. They reminisced and found a lot in common.

Sharon mentioned that another classmate from American Falls lived in town. She and Keith made arrangements to meet the friend.

Things moved pretty quickly from there. Keith and Sharon got back together a few times and talked about old times and looked through yearbooks.

Two months later, they married.

"It was quick," Sharon said, "but we both knew it was right."

Sharon's parents moved to Las Vegas in 1959 while she was in college. Her father became vice president of the Four Queens. She moved to California, where she was a teacher, and eventually settled in Las Vegas, where she also taught. She was in and out of Las Vegas from the year her folks moved.

Keith didn't arrive until 1980, pursuing work in the carpet industry. When the pair later compared notes, they realized they'd lived in town a decade without bumping into each other.

"I ran into her mother at the bank once," Keith said. "But at that time Sharon was married."

Sharon said that because she and Keith had so many common interests and shared camaraderie from growing up together, he was easy to fall in love with.

"We both like our sports and our horses," Sharon said. "We used to go back to the Eastern Idaho State Fair every year and catch up with all of our old friends."

Keith had horse property in North Las Vegas when the pair met, and he has fond memories of competitive riding.

"I rode bareback," he said. "I roped calves and team-roped."

"He even roped a bull or two," Sharon added.

The two were already grandparents when they reconnected. Between them they have seven children (including the younger Keith Buck, who is married to North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck), 28 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

"Our eighth great-grandchild was just born last week," Keith said, beaming.

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.