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Valedictorians are three generations apart

When Eric Perry was honored in June as co-valedictorian of Box Elder High School's Class of 1993, he was walking in the shoes of his great-grandfather, LeRoy John Buckmiller, 92.

Brother Buckmiller was valedictorian and student body secretary of the Class of 1919, 74 years earlier. At that time, he was known as Roy or just "Buch." His surname at the time was spelled Buchmiller, but years later he changed it when he became a dentist and people had difficulty finding his listing in the telephone book.The Box Elder Bees' yearbook from 1919 has 40 seniors, including Brother Buckmiller. It lists his favorite song as "Don't Kill The Little Birdies," and favorite past-time as "posing." That meant standing in the hallways to meet the girls, he explained.

That year's featured graduation speaker was Elder Stephen L Richards of the Council of the Twelve. Of course, as valedictorian, young "Buch" spoke as well.

"My mother thought I was the main speaker," he recalled.

Brother Buckmiller moved with his family from Box Elder County the year after his graduation. He eventually received a degree in dental surgery from the University of Illinois and practiced in the Chicago area, Salt Lake City, California and back in Utah.

Through the years he served in the Church in many capacities. He was president of the London Temple and a temple sealer for 30 years. He served twice as bishop, was in two stake presidencies and on several high councils. He taught "countless classes."

Some years ago one of his granddaughters, Peggy Lovell, married Evan Perry of Willard, Utah, and brought a branch of the family back to Box Elder County. Young Eric found out in the 9th or 10th grade about his great-grandfather being valedictorian and thought it was "really neat. It gave me an extra incentive, something to shoot for."

He worked hard at his schooling and was one of six honored as valedictorian, speaking at graduation ceremonies like his great-grandfather had 74 years before. He will attend BYU this fall.

Like his grandfather, Eric not only has excelled academically, but also has served faithfully in many Church callings.

He was a member of his deacons, teachers and priests quorum presidencies, served twice as seminary class president, and is a seminary graduate and an Eagle Scout. He was ordained an elder recently.

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