From the New York Times Obituary:
William F Buckley who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn.
Mr Buckley, 82, suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said.
When I was a teenager he was my hero. Most boys may age idolized Mickey Mantel or Johnny Unitas or John Kennedy, but John Wayne and Bill Buckley were my hero's. Up until last summer I had a large poster of Bill hanging in our family room.
I bought it in Berkeley California, of all places, on a spring vacation trip while I was a college student at Oregon in 1969. Back in those days Buckley's show on PBS, Firing Line, was one of the few conservative shows broadcast. I still remember when he ran for Mayor of New York and debated John Lindsey. Buckley pretended to be bored or sleeping while Lindsey was speaking. My mom thought he was rude but I though he was cool. Back then he was the conservative "young rebel." We YAF ers (Young Americans for Freedom) all wanted to be like him.In those days the conservative movement was fun... it's hard to explain how much fun we had as young conservatives in the early 60's before Kennedy was shot and Vietnam was lost. In the days before talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet we always had National Review and Bill was our leader.
I got to meet Buckley in 1968 or so when he spoke at Oregon State University. I drove a group of young YAF ers up from the University of Oregon in Eugene to a pre speech dinner with a small group of 20 or so conservatives and I was impressed by his kindness. After the dinner we had a front row seat for his speech.
Bill was a very traditional Catholic. I remember when Ayn Rand met him she told Bill Buckley that he was "too intelligent to believe in God." On days like this I hope Bill was right and Rand was wrong.
I feel old today. We will miss you Bill!
(click on the title for a link to the AP obituary)
Here is a great quote I just picked up at National Review on line.
As George Will once said, "before there was Ronald Reagan there was Barry Goldwater, before there was Goldwater there was National Review, and before there was National Review there was William F. Buckley." As conservatives — and as Americans — we are all standing on his shoulders
"He was our Samuel Johnson and Errol Flynn rolled into one. We "shall not look upon his like again." RIP."
Mona Charen in the Washington Post