by Buck Institute

The Buck Institute remembers Phyllis Faber: 1928 – 2023

Well-known conservationist played key role in the Buck’s formative years

Phyllis Faber, a well-connected and well-loved botanist and conservationist in Marin County, died at her home on Sunday January 15th.  She was 95.

1996: Buck Board Member, Phyllis Faber, front left, with IM Pei on Mt. Burdell in Novato, where the Buck Institute would later be built.

Faber, who was known for co-founding the Marin Agricultural Land Trust and serving on the California Coastal Commission, leveraged her connections and her community goodwill to help garner support for ballot measures that enabled the establishment of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato.  She served on the Buck Board of Trustees and was chair of the Construction Committee when the initial campus was built.  She was chair of the Buck’s Board of Trustees for one term in the early 2000’s. 

Faber earned a B.S. in zoology from Mount Holyoke College and an M.S. in microbiology from Yale University. Her training as a scientist made her a good fit for the Buck. “I was very fortunate to get to know Phyllis, who was very generous in her support of the Buck, both financially as well as being an advocate in the community,” said Buck President and CEO Eric Verdin, MD. “As a scientist her interest in our work was unflagging.  She developed personal and rewarding relationships with many of our scientists.  She will be remembered with great fondness and a recognition that she lived a life well worth celebrating.”  

Buck Board Members, Phyllis Faber and Crawford Cooley

Faber was very active in the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and was editor of the organization’s journal.  She was credited with significant contributions to and successes of the CNPS, including raising the botanical literacy of elected officials in California, promoting preservation of native plants through legislation and the policies of public agencies, and making closer associations between the CNPS and the state’s universities. She served on the California Coastal Commission and in 1980 co-founded MALT, the first farmland trust in the nation. MALT involved a broad coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and community leaders intent on protecting the future of farming in Marin County from mounting pressures for development.  Faber is credited with bringing that coalition into the fold of Buck supporters in the early days of the Institute’s development. 

The Buck Institute will always appreciate the pioneering work and support of Phyllis Faber and will cherish her memory.

Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.

Eric Verdin, MD, Buck Institute President and CEO

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