David Buckson
David Buckson (1969).png
Attorney General of Delaware
In office
January 15, 1963 – January 19, 1971
GovernorElbert Carvel
Charles L. Terry, Jr.
Russell W. Peterson
Preceded byJanuar Bove
Succeeded byLaird Stabler
63rd Governor of Delaware
In office
December 30, 1960 – January 17, 1961
Preceded byJ. Caleb Boggs
Succeeded byElbert Carvel
15th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
In office
January 15, 1957 – December 30, 1960
GovernorCaleb Boggs
Preceded byJohn Rollins
Succeeded byEugene Lammot
Personal details
David Penrose Buckson

(1920-07-25)July 25, 1920
Townsend, Delaware, U.S.
DiedJanuary 17, 2017(2017-01-17) (aged 96)
Milford, Delaware, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Betty Savin
Patricia Maloney
EducationUniversity of Delaware, Newark (BA)
Pennsylvania State University, Carlisle (LLB)

David Penrose Buckson (July 25, 1920 – January 17, 2017) was an American lawyer and politician from Camden in Kent County, Delaware. He was a veteran of World War II and a member of the Republican Party, who served as the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware, for nineteen days the 63rd Governor of Delaware and the 37th Attorney General of Delaware.

Early life and family

Buckson was born in Townsend, Delaware, the son of Leon and Margaret Hutchison Buckson. He first married Betty Savin in 1945 with whom he had two children, Deborah Gray, and Brian Roth. His second wife was Patricia Maloney, whom he married in 1962 and with whom he had four children, Marlee, David, Eric, and Kent. They were members of the Methodist Church. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1941 with a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. During World War II Buckson served in the South Pacific and attained the rank of major. Afterwards he resumed legal studies, at Dickinson College Law School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Buckson is the founder of Dover Downs, opening in 1969 a harness racing track that was also encompassed by the NASCAR race track which began racing the same year. Buckson died on January 17, 2017, at the Delaware Veterans Home in Milford, Delaware.[1][2]

Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Delaware

Buckson as lieutenant governor.
Buckson as lieutenant governor.

He was appointed a judge in the Court of Common Pleas in 1955. A year later, he was elected lieutenant-governor, defeating Vernon Derrickson. He served one term from January 15, 1957, to December 30, 1960. Near the end of his term, in 1960, he sought the Republican Party nomination for governor, but lost it to John W. Rollins. However, he became governor when Governor J. Caleb Boggs resigned to start his first U.S. Senate term, and served the remaining 18 days of Boggs' second term.

Professional and political career

Buckson was elected Delaware's attorney-general in 1962 and served two terms, from January 15, 1963, to January 19, 1971. He ran for governor again in 1964 but lost to Democratic former Chief Justice Charles L. Terry, Jr., and in 1972, when he failed to receive the Republican nomination.

Buckson was later appointed by Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt to be a judge in the Family Court of Delaware.

Buckson was the first Delaware attorney to have offices in more than one county. He was the founder of Dover Downs, a volunteer fireman, a decorated World War II officer, and commander of a National Guard unit. Buckson was also simultaneously city solicitor for the Delaware municipalities of Newark, Middletown, Townsend, Smyrna, Clayton, and Dover.

Buckson died on January 17, 2017, in Milford. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living state governor.[3][4]

Delaware General Assembly
(session while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority President
pro tempore
House Majority Speaker
1961 120th Democratic Allen J. Cook Democratic Sherman W. Tribbitt
Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Lt. Governor Executive Dover January 15, 1957 December 30, 1960 Delaware
Governor Executive Dover December 30, 1960 January 17, 1961 Delaware
Attorney General Executive Dover January 15, 1963 January 17, 1967 Delaware
Attorney General Executive Dover January 17, 1967 January 19, 1971 Delaware
Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1956 Lt. Governor General David P. Buckson Republican 92,254 52% Vernon B. Derrickson Democratic 81,121 48%
1962 Attorney General General David P. Buckson Republican 77,666 51% John Biggs, III Democratic 75,064 49%
1964 Governor General David P. Buckson Republican 97,374 49% Charles L. Terry, Jr. Democratic 102,797 51%
1966 Attorney General General David P. Buckson Republican 96,595 59% Sidney Balick Democratic 66,848 41%
1972 Governor Primary David P. Buckson Republican 20,138 46% Russell W. Peterson Republican 23,929 54%


  1. ^ "David Buckson Obituary (2017) - Dover Post". www.legacy.com.
  2. ^ "Flags in Delaware Lower at Half-Staff to Honor Former Attorney General, Governor David Buckson".
  3. ^ Editor, Reach Executive (January 19, 2017). "Dover Downs founder, politician Buckson dies at 96". ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ Staff Report. "Dave Buckson - Dover Downs Founder, former governor, succumbs at 96". Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times.


Political offices Preceded byJohn Rollins Lieutenant Governor of Delaware 1957–1960 Succeeded byEugene Lammot Preceded byCaleb Boggs Governor of Delaware 1960–1961 Succeeded byElbert Carvel Party political offices Preceded byJohn Rollins Republican nominee for Governor of Delaware 1964 Succeeded byRussell Peterson Legal offices Preceded byJanuar Bove Attorney General of Delaware 1963–1971 Succeeded byLaird Stabler Honorary titles Preceded byEdgar Whitcomb Oldest living American governor 2016–2017 Succeeded byJohn Malcolm Patterson