William Temple Allen Baxter, Jr. “Bucky”

William Temple Allen Baxter, Jr, more famously known as Bucky Baxter, died peacefully at his Sanibel Island, Florida home on May 25, 2020. Bucky is survived by his beloved wife, Taylor Heilpern-Baxter, and children, Brooke and Rayland Baxter; his sister, Jane Baxter and his mother, Irene Karabinus Baxter. He was predeceased by his father, William Temple Allen Baxter Sr.

Bucky was a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist, best known for playing the steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar.  He was a founding member of alt-country pioneer Steve Earle and the Dukes, where he played for nearly a decade before joining Bob Dylan and his band from 1990-1999. He recorded on the 3-time Grammy Award winning album “Time Out of Mind” and played over 750 shows on what has been referred to as “The Never-Ending Tour.”  In 1999, he began work on completing his recording studio, Three Trees, in Nashville, TN and released his only solo album, Most Likely, No Problem, with fellow artists, Tony Garnier, Ian Wallace, Gary Tallent and Henry Gross.

In 2000, Bucky joined Ryan Adams, recording on albums “Gold” and “Demolition,” and toured around the world in support of those albums until 2004.    In his career, Bucky played with artists such as R.E.M, The Beastie Boys, Los Lobos, Johnny Cash, Ben Folds, Kacey Musgraves, Johnny Paycheck, Elton John and the Rolling Stones, just to name a few.  His proudest moments, however, were spent playing on all 5 of his son Rayland’s albums and admiring his daughter, Brooke, as she built the successful jewelry company, Arrow and Anchor.

Bucky lived the last year of his life on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he spent time fishing, gardening and walking on the beach with his wife and his three dogs, Fiona, Chapel and Moses. 

Bucky will be remembered for his tender heart, his bigger than life personality and his love for all things beautiful.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the non-profit organization, Captains For Clean Water, 2031 Jackson St., Fort Myers, FL 33901.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Fort Myers, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Henry Gross Jun 8, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Bucky was gold. A friend and brother from the day we met. He was an amazing musician who always unselfishly served the song. His untimely passing leave a hole in the universe unlikely to be filled. RIP dearest pal o mine.

  2. Susan Thrasher Jun 8, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Bucky was a wonderful neighbor and friend to me on the Caney Fork River. Looking around the yard today I see constant reminders of him. From the trees, shrubs and stones that he generously shared with me, he will always be a part of my place on the river.

  3. Evette Zurbriggen Jun 8, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Bucky will be remembered in our neighborhood as a gentle soul and awesome musician. He and his wife Taylor befriended pets and people of all ages and backgrounds.
    We pray God’s blessing over his family.

  4. Dickie Soloperto Jun 8, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I met Buck Man within the first two weeks of landing in Nashville in 1998 and he gave me my first job, dismantling huge outbuildings at Opryland Themepark and reassembling them on his property which would soon become 3 Trees Studio. We worked hard, played hard, fishes hard, laughed hard, drank kinda hard, grilled food, and FISHED,FISHED,FISHED. I’ve never met anyone quite like him in my life and don’t ever expect to again. He helped me through the worst patch in my life and I will always be grateful. Once when he was visiting Miami ( my hometown) he called me up in Nashville and asked for my parents address and he popped in to visit my Mom when she was in her last stages of life. I thought that was one of the most beautiful things any of my friends could ever do. Days before his passing we spoke on the phone about me visiting him this November to fish for a week and I’m heart broken. Next time Bucky…..next time. My condolences to his Mom, his wife, Brooke and Rayland. I send my love to all who is hurting…..

  5. Dana Mehlig Jun 8, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    I wish I had known this incredible dude a long time ago. But, if you believe in passed lives, I’m sure that Bucky and I had crossed paths. Taylor, Bucky and their 3 dogs have been my neighbors and friends the past couple of years. I embrace this family so much!! You left too soon Bucky. But I see you with your fishing pole in the Gulf and most of all, when the dolphins surface in the water, I wave to you and say “Hey, Bucky”. You are at peace my friend.

  6. Mike Juers and Coleen Kennedy Jun 8, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    We were blessed to have met Bucky and Taylor and their 3 dogs on Sannibel beach, and spent many unforgettable days playing with our dogs, walking the beach and enjoying Bucky’s amazing stories. Bucky is truly one in a million and will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies to Taylor and family for the loss of their beloved Bucky.

  7. David Preston Jun 8, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Bucky You were a badass! Im honored to have known you. See you on the other side brother. Much love

  8. Zeke Ward Jun 9, 2020 at 1:53 am

    I am still unable to believe My Friend is gone. I can’t count the times he would come into my thoughts and as I would be telling myself, “Zeke, you need to call Bucky.” …, the phone would ring and there he would be; like he could hear me thinking. With him very much on my mind, I still would not be the least bit surprised if my phone rang and some how he would be talking to me … having heard me thinking there would be words of comfort and other messages I need to hear. Bucky, every memory I have of you, and there are many, is a blessing and a treasure. I’ll catch up with you when the time is right.
    Bucky is a true friend, accepting me for who I am, no changes expected or ask for; quick to forgive and quicker to extend gratitude for the smallest thing; more like a brother than a friend.
    One story: While sharing a meal in a restaurant one night, a soldier in uniform came in with his family. It became obvious he had just returned home from deployment. As we were leaving, after settling up for our meal, he quietly and anonymously paid for their meal … and we quickly left. As a Vietnam veteran I greatly appreciated what he did.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Taylor, Rayland, Brook, Jane and Mrs. Baxter. May God’s peace which surpasses all understanding comfort you. 🙏 Amen.

  9. Steve Baxter Jun 9, 2020 at 8:13 am

    “OH, the stories we could tell” Any time spent with Bucky meant a new story was being born. Every new thought of Bucky is now a story bringing a smile. My imagination has him wandering the other side with an inquisitive, childlike manner, looking for answers to questions he’s had forever. He’s gone from us but I’m confident he lives on and hasn’t missed a beat. Love you, Buck. Carry on.

  10. Brooke Baxter Jun 10, 2020 at 4:03 am

    My Dad, my Buckman, the truth. You’re forever in my heart. My guardian angel for the rest of my time on this earth. You lived, you loved, and you taught us all the lessons we could ever need to learn. Our love rests with you forever. Brookie

  11. Larry Jefferies Jun 15, 2020 at 9:55 am

    We played fiddle tunes over coffee every morning early at Three Trees. We scampered through the tidal flats in Nova Scotia like school boys. We cooked on the grill and played music and skinny dipped in the frog pond at the “Riv”. We traveled through the mountains and deserts of Colorado in the Mustang Convertible. We dismantled buildings from Opryland and rebuilt them at Three Trees as if we knew what we were doing and hauled shrubs by the truck load. We went bonefishing in the Andros, Bahamas and hopped derelict puddle jumpers to get there. We shared many laughs and some heartbreak. He called me grandfather and I called him grasshopper. We were pals and I can see him in my mind and hear his voice as clear as ever. He was a generous man and a dear friend.

  12. Taylor Heilpern-Baxter Jul 10, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Miss you, my sweetheart.

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