Genevieve Buck entered the press industry in a still noisy, male-dominated world where women were considered second-rate.

But over the decades that followed, Buck proved to be an influential and internationally admired reporter and fashion editor, business reporter and columnist, and author of fictional articles. She did it with an unforgettable touch. And she was as stylish in person as in print.

Columnist Mike Royko, her colleague and friend when they both worked for the Chicago Daily News in the late 1960s, once remarked, shortly after Buck emerged from the elevator where they and others were driving: “.

Buck died on September 6 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a cerebral hemorrhage and more than two decades of dealing with his declining health. She was 89 years old.

“Gen has been a ‘fashion’ for many years while I worked at the Tribune,” said former Tribune writer Judy Hevrdejs, who worked with Buck. “She attached great importance to detail – in the details of the designer of the dress, the trends on the streets of Chicago and beyond, and most of all in the details of the story she told.”

Genevieve Carol Wiśniewski was born on December 18, 1932 and raised in Joliet, the daughter of Hattie and Leon Wiśniewski and the youngest of their four children.

She lived close to school, attended St. Francis and won a scholarship at the College of St. Francis, where she edited the school newspaper and was ejaculation with praise graduated in 1954.

As she later said in an interview, “When I was studying English Literature, it never occurred to me that I could work for a newspaper.”

But she joined the public relations department of the American Institute of Laundering and began studying and writing about textiles and fashion there. This led to a job as a reporter for the Chicago office of the national publication of Women’s Wear Daily.

In 1962, she married Robert Buck (they divorced in 1993), and two years later she left her job to raise two children: Greg, born in 1964, and Michelle, who arrived two years later.

In 1967, she was hired by the Daily News as a fashion reporter. In 1971, she was lured by the Chicago Tribune, where she worked for over 30 years as a fashion writer, fashion editor, reportage writer, business reporter and columnist, writing the popular “House Hunter” column. Revealing that Buck had been my colleague for several years, including when I was editor of the Tempo Tribune and she was one of her writers.

Her fashion duties took her all over the country and the world. She has met such famous designers as Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld… the list goes on. She developed a close relationship with the late photographer Victor Skrebneski.

She received many awards, including an induction into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. Receiving the prestigious Award of America’s Fashion Designers Council in 1991, she wrote on the agenda of the event: “I like the people behind clothes more than the clothes themselves. I am fascinated by creativity, I find out why designers – artists really – do what they do. Writing about people, their styles, and even fashions is a way to keep your finger on the pulse of the times. And that’s refreshing. “

As a writer, Tempo once created the profile of photographer Marc Hauser. This is how she began her story about him: “Marc Hauser is the first to admit that he is both a great photographer and a great promoter. In fact, he’s the best in town at doing both. Just ask him.

She and her family lived on the north side of the city.

Son Greg, senior manager at Tyson Foods, recalls: “Despite her long commitment to fashion, clothes never became an obsession. She certainly had her own style, but she loved history, people. What was her definition of a working mom? Before that, she had come home from great parties in Paris after spring collections and helped her children with homework via transatlantic phone calls.

Buck retired in 2004, already tormented by health problems that hid her until the end. “My brother and I don’t think of it as negative in the first place, but it’s a major part of her story of strength, resilience, and resisting adversity,” said daughter Michelle, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management in Northwestern. University. “Over the years, I repeated what I thought was a final goodbye many times, but she bravely continued.”

She had lived for many years in Clare, a retirement community a few blocks from Northwestern Hospital. “She was my rock and inspiration, and was a fighter until the last moment,” Michelle said. “There was a quote she loved from the author of Dawny Markowa. It was like this: “I will not die a lifeless life. I will not live in fear of a fall or fire. I choose to inhabit my days, let my life open up… make me more accessible… I choose to live ”.

In addition to his children, Buck left behind a daughter-in-law Kim and their children Geoff and Allison; son-in-law Carlos A. Cornier and five nieces. A celebration of life is planned.

rkogan@chicagotribune.com

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