Roscoe Blog

Donald W. Buik: Industrial Pioneer Passes On

Sean Parnell - Friday, September 04, 2015

Donald W. Buik: Industrial Pioneer Passes On

Donald W. Buik, 88, a former president of the Institute of Industrial Launderers (IIL) and of The Roscoe Co., Chicago, passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 2.

"His passions were his family and his family's business," said his son and current company President Jim Buik in a brief statement.

Visitation is slated for 9:30-10:30 a.m., Saturday Sept. 19, at Bethel UCC, 315 E. St. Charles Rd., Elmhurst, IL 60126. A memorial service and lunch will follow immediately afterward. Anyone seeking further information may contact Jim Buik at or 773.354.2450.

After serving in the U.S. Navy in 1945-46, the elder Buik completed a degree at Northwestern University in 1948 and joined the family business founded in 1921 by his father George.

Long active in IIL (renamed UTSA in 1993 and blended with TRSA in 2008), Buik served as its president in 1973-74, a time of emerging public interest in environmental conservation. Buik led the way in terms of the response by industrial launderers to wastewater issues by piloting the installation of the first wastewater pre-treatment system in an industrial laundry. This effort "served to illustrate the impact his pioneering spirit had on the industry he loved," Jim Buik said.

Donald Buik also was a model operator in terms of his willingness to share information about environmentally beneficial technology with others. In 1974, he presented findings on his company's wastewater treatment system at the 6th Annual World Linen Congress in Venice, Italy. These and other efforts in a career that continued through 2000 brought Buik recognition in the form of numerous awards, including his induction into the UTSA Plant Operations Hall of Fame and a Gus Eggerling Award from the association. Buik also earned the title of Lawndale Industrialist of the Year, which is named for the area of Chicago in which The Roscoe Co. was founded and continues to operate today.

Don & Jim Buik

In addition to his work as an industrial launderer, Buik was extremely active in community affairs. "The Lawndale community also greatly benefited from Don's strong community spirit," Jim Buik said. "He served as chairman of the Lawndale Sears Roebuck YMCA and has been awarded various honors from the community, including the Lawndale Business Community Spirit Award, which was later named after him for future recipients."

In addition, Donald Buik was a founding member and past president of Bethel United Church of Christ in Elmhurst, IL. He was a Boy Scout leader, a board member of the Illinois St. Andrew Society, an Elmhurst College Trustee and an active contributor to Rotary One. Each of these groups benefited from "Donald's tireless commitment to community service," Jim said.

Donald was predeceased by his parents and wife, Betty J. Buik. Survivors include: daughters Nancy Beth (Jeff), Christine (Jim), sons Richard (Patricia) and James (Teresa); grandchildren: Mark, Anna, Mollie, Steven, Will, Julia, Katie and Daniel.

In an online tribute to his father posted earlier this year, Jim Buik summed up Donald's impact on the industrial laundry industry as follows: "Donald W. Buik had a remarkable career in the Uniform & Textile Rental Industry – just as his father, George C. Buik, he had a disproportionate degree of influence because he rolled up his sleeves, got involved and shared what he learned with the industry."

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Buik Endowed Scholarship Fund, Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 or Bethel Church 315 E. St. Charles Road Elmhurst IL 60126.

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