guys call me Buck, and the girls called me Bucky. My mother calls
me Roy Lee, and when she's mad she calls me Roy Lee Tarboro
Jr.," says Buck Tarboro, Moravian's grounds foreman.
And John McDermott, the College's vice president for planning
and research, calls him "the man who wears the lawnmower."
when Tarboro cuts the grass in front of Comenius Hall, he and the
riding mower become one.
has worked for 22 years at Moravian, and three of his five children
are or have been Moravians, too. His daughter Teri L. Koehler, 27,
graduated in 1997 with a degree in psychology and works with juveniles
on probation for an agency in Reading. Brian, 19, attended Moravian
briefly and now works for his brother, Roy III, 22, the manager
of a CVS in Bethlehem. And LaToya—"50 going on 19,"
says her father—just finished her freshman year and works
in the Facilities Services office. With his partner, Lois Krasley,
a custodian at Moravian, he has a son, Brandon, 8, who is finishing
and amiable, with a round face and a ready smile, Tarboro seems
unflappable. During our interview, when the walkie-talkie summoned
him, he calmly dispatched his crew and a golf cart to the library
to unload an unexpected shipment of books. "I'll go
over there when we're done and if it turns out they need more,
I'll get a couple more," he said.
takes care of his crew, three of whom are out (as of this writing)
on disability. "If they have a problem, they talk to me,"
he says. "I bring food to the group. They love my hot wings!
When one of our kids is selling something"—Girl Scout
cookies, school candy—"we all buy from the other ones."
at St. Luke's Hospital, Tarboro moved with his mother to Delaware
when his parents separated, then came back to Bethlehem as a junior-high
student to live with his father, who was "in the Steel."
After graduating from Freedom High School, he went into the Navy
as a machinist's mate. Following his discharge, he was a cook
and manager of the Maryland Fried Chicken on Stefko Boulevard until
he hired on as a boiler attendant at Moravian.
was going to apply at the Steel," he says, "but I had
a choice whether to go down there or see my mom, and I chose to
see my mom. It was a blessing. Every one of my friends has got laid
a position on the Moravian grounds crew became available, he took
it. Now, 22 years later, he's supervisor of a crew of seven,
licensed to apply pesticides, qualified to operate all equipment.
part of a clan of Tarboros with Moravian connections. His sister
Royal "Kimmy" Smith is a management student enrolled
with the Division of Continuing and Graduate Studies; his cousin
Tommy works in food service. "Once we had a big family Thanksgiving
over in the Doghouse, and there was more than a hundred people there,"
like working here," he says of his job. "I like being
outside. I don't have to sit in an office and spend eight
hours a day. And I don't take the company home."
18 was his 21st Moravian graduation. "I've set up 22,"
he says, "but I got to sit for one when I went to see my daughter