In Memoriam: Roy Minnick and Ben Buckner

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Roy Minnick
Well-known California surveyor, author, seminar presenter, and book seller Roy Minnick passed away unexpectedly on September 29 at age 65.

Minnick began his surveying career with the U.S. Army in 1955, gaining both office and field experience. Beginning in 1962, he continued his training with the California State Lands Commission (CSLC). During his 30 years with CSLC Minnick became proficient at identifying boundaries of navigable lakes and other state-owned wetlands. His assignments included geodetic control, property boundary, and hydrographic surveys. Minnick quickly adapted to the advent of the electronic surveying age and was among the early users of electronic distance measuring equipment.

In 1966, Minnick transferred to office duty with the CSLC in Los Angeles working on reductions of field notes and plat preparation. Within the year he transferred to a lead role in the CSLC Sacramento office. He received his California professional surveying license in 1967. Minnick’s talents and communication skills were quickly recognized and in 1969 he was appointed to a supervisory position as head of the newly formed Area Projects Unit at the CSLC.

In the early 1970s Minnick accepted additional responsibilities as project manager of the CSLC Granted Lands Program, overseeing administrative compliance requirements by cities and counties for the state’s granted wetlands. These experiences led to his appointment as head of the Boundary Investigation Unit during the early 1980s. This was one of three major surveying and boundary units for the CSLC. Between 1988 and 1992 he served as the Supervisor of the Commission’s Land Location and Boundary Section. Minnick retired from the CSLC in December 1992.

Between 1992 and 1994, he was in private practice consulting on land survey problems for private clients. Courts accepted Minnick as an expert land surveyor a number of times, and he frequently acted as a consultant in boundary research.

Beginning in September 1994, as the waterways and boundary specialist, Minnick consulted with First American Title Company underwriting staff on matters relating to tidelands, waterways, and land survey matters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries served by the Company. Recently, his duties had expanded to provide an array of consulting services involving land boundary determination and location, review and preparation of land descriptions, and facilitating title and boundary settlements.

In 1972 Minnick became personally interested in promoting surveying education. His interest in this quickly grew and he went on to become a national leader in promoting the education of students and surveyors, and in making all varieties of instructional materials more readily available. Minnick founded and chaired the Survey T chnology Program at e Sacramento City College and in that capacity developed and taught courses and seminars in various aspects of surveying.

He formed Landmark Enterprises during the mid 1970s and soon became the principal supplier of surveying textbooks and related materials.

Minnick presented hundreds of speeches and seminars throughout the United States. He wrote numerous articles and reviews for professional journals, was the founding chairman of the editorial review board for ACSM, and was a past member of the editorial review board for the American Cartographer.

Over a period of years Minnick assisted in the preparation of examinations for land surveyor and land-surveyor-in-training for NCEES and the California State Board of Registration for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors.

Minnick was the author of Ownership, Title, and Boundaries (1975, 1987), Water Boundaries for Surveyors in California (2nd edition, 2000) and Land Surveyor Test Training Manual (1981). He also co-authored Advanced Land Descriptions and contributed to Standard Handbook for Civil Engineers. In addition to co-editing and authoring several chapters of Surveying Handbook, Minnick edited more than twenty other books in surveying and survey-related subject areas.

Minnick obtained licensure to survey in three states and held many active memberships in various societies and associations. Within our profession, Minnick was a giant–always ready to help, equipped with humor and wit, firm in his convictions, and thorough in his research and presentation. He will be greatly missed.

The California Foundation for Land Surveying Education has created the Roy Minnick Memorial Scholarship to help worthy students acquire an education in surveying. Donations for the scholarship fund may be sent to CFLSE, PMB 231, 13681 Newport Ave, Suite 8, Tustin, CA, 92780-7815; or call 714-508-1123 for more information.

Thanks to Los Angeles surveyor Paul Cuomo, LS, for his contribution to this article.

Ben Buckner
The surveying and mapping community lost a dear friend when Dr. Ben Buckler passed away, after a long, courageous fight with cancer, on October 9, 2004, at age 65. Ben was a professor, author, business owner, marathon runner, actor, licensed surveyor, and musician. He earned five college degrees.

Buckner first became interested in surveying during his undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois. After completing his BS in Civil Engineering at Illinois in 1962, he spent two years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a Lieutenant and four years working for the progressive engineering and surveying company of Charles Danner and Associates in Urbana, IL.

In 1969 he completed an MS degree at the University of Illinois, majoring in Photogrammetric and Geodetic Engineering, followed by an MS degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin. Buckner eventually became licensed as a professional surveyor, a professional engineer, and a community planner.

In 1973, Ohio State University sought Buckner to design a new curriculum within the Department of Geodetic Science. Between about 197478 he wrote and/or edited most of the test questions on the first Fundamentals of Surveying exams given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and wrote and graded the Ohio surveying exams for eight years.

Buckner remained as an associate professor at OSU until 1985, when he was applied for a faculty position at East Tennessee State University. During the job interview, Buckner said he would accept the position only if they would upgrade their existing four-year degree to a complete curriculum such as existed at OSU.

In the fall of 1985, he was hired at ETS U at the rank of professor. Buckner spent most of that first year outlining a course syllabi for the new curriculum. Dr. Marian Clark, whose education and interests complimented those of Buckner, joined the Surveying and Mapping faculty in the Fall of 1986.

The program grew slowly, and was not always met with enthusiasm. In fact, there was much opposition from some surveyors, especially those who felt that no college education was necessary to become a surveyor. Nevertheless, in 1994, the program became accredited under what was considered as the "professional" level accreditation criteria (RAC), rather than under technology or engineering.

Between about 1983 and 1993, Buckner also wrote two major surveying texts and five manuals, covering topics such as statistical analysis of measurements, observational astronomy, legal principles of locating land boundaries, land surveying computations, state plane coordinates, residential subdivision design, and land survey review. These books have been used as texts and for licensing exam review for many years.

Buckner’s reputation continued to grow, leading to frequent invitations to speak and present seminars. In 1995 he resigned from ETSU and founded Surveyors Educational Seminars. He taught hundreds of seminars in at least 40 states.

Around 1998, even though his business was at its peak, Buckner began to turn down various speaking engagements in order to explore yet another avenue of his talents: a passion for theater. In May 2003, in spite of two battles with colon cancer, he obtained a theater degree from

ETS U. From 1998-2003, Buckner performed in 18 theater productions, sometimes playing his harmonica. He enjoyed physical exercise, and took part in hundreds of road races (including four "ultra-marathons"), triathlons, and bicycle races. He was an active member of Grace Fellowship Church.

Buckner created the Buckner Surveying and Mapping Scholarship Endowment at ETSU.

Tax-deductible gifts in memory of Ben may be sent to The Dr. Ben Buckner Surveying and Mapping Scholarship Endowment, ETSU Foundation, PO Box 70721, Johnson City, TN 37614.

Thanks to Dr. Marian Clark, Coordinator for Surveying & Mapping Science at ETSU, for contributing this information.

A 636Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

About the Author

Paul A. Cuomo, LS

Paul began his surveying career in 1958 as an Engineering Aid for the California Division of Highways (Cal-Trans). He became a Licensed Land Surveyor in 1973 and, in that year, joined the staff at Rancho Santiago Community College in Santa Ana, California. He taught Boundary Control, Description Writing and U.S. Public Lands for over 25 years. Paul is also a guest lecturer at Cal- Poly Pomona .He left the Cal Trans in 1980 and took a position at the Orange County Surveyor’s Office as Deputy County Surveyor. He held that position until his retirement in January, 1993. Paul founded Pacific Land Seminars, an intellectual corporation, in 1985. He has given seminars on L.S. Exam test preparation, Boundary Control, Description Writing, the U.S.P.L.S.S., A.L.T.A. Surveys , Condominium Plans, the State Plane Coordinate System and Surveying Principles for the Civil Engineering exam. Paul served as State President of the California Land Surveyor’s Association in 1989. He is currently Chairman of the Southern California Section of A.C.S.M. and Chairman of the California Foundation for Land Surveying Education. In 1993 he co-authored the nationally acclaimed book “Advanced Land Descriptions” with the late Roy Minnick and Michael Pallamary Paul is also the author of :Surveying Principles for the Civil Engineer” ( P.P.I. ) On April 1, 2003 Paul acquired Landmark Enterprises from the late Roy Minnick. Re-named “Paul Cuomo Press, Inc.” it is the largest on-line book distributor in the U.S. and can be found at Contact Author Article List Below