|By Warren Cox (Warrencid) on Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 10:25 am: Edit|
Robert T. (Bob) Buckley was born to Robert W. and Mary Jane (nee Barr) Buckley in Medford, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1939, and spent his first two years of life in the Medford area. The family crossed the country in 1941 to the state of Washington, which — despite traveling the globe many times — Bob considered his home for the rest of his life.
The Buckleys moved to Bellingham in 1947, with Bob attending the old Roosevelt grade school on Alabama Street, followed by Fairhaven Junior High, and Bellingham High. Bob was a guy of many dimensions, foremost among those: family man. He cherished his family, took pride in his children's accomplishments, strove to set the kids an example and guide them without hovering, and doted on his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
After his family, Bob prized the career he created for himself in the military. He enlisted as a teenager and spent most of the next 30 years with the U.S. Army, serving his country in Vietnam (two tours), South Korea, and West Germany (cold war), along with many stateside postings. Bob began his service with the military police (MP,) and advanced over the years to become a Warrant Officer and special agent in the MP Criminal Investigation Division (CID.) Bob's view was that there were three ways to do a thing: "The right way, the wrong way, and the Army way." Unsurprisingly, Bob's way was the Army way. Following his military service, Bob developed a second career as a counselor specializing in the care of veterans struggling with PTSD, substance abuse, and related complaints.
Whatever the setting, Bob always enjoyed the respect and admiration of those around him. A buddy from his Army days, Dan White, said when he heard of Bob's passing: "He was a great CID Agent, a great person with a great personality, and a good friend and mentor to many." Bob's extensive overseas postings with the military helped him shape his favorite avocation, that of gourmet chef. Borrowing food, flavoring, and fixing influences that he gathered from around the world, Bob never met a recipe — whether from Julia Child or the Ragin' Cajun — that he didn't believe he could improve through creativity and improvisation. A friend observed that, in Bob's family, he usually wore the pants AND did the cooking. Some of what Bob cooked he himself gathered as an outdoorsman, catching fish from the largest oceans and the tiniest streams while successfully hunting game birds and large game.
One of Bob's most remarkable hunting feats occurred, as he related it, when two grouse were flushed and he bagged them both with just one shot. No recounting of Bob's robust life would be complete without mention of his accomplishments as a spinner of yarns and teller of tales, gifts acquired from the previous generation — his father on one side of the family, and maternal aunts and uncles on the other. As he had learned in developing his cooking skills, Bob came to appreciate that almost any good story could be improved with embellishment — often a dash of blarney. And his storyteller's serious manner plus deadpan face invariably elicited gales of laughter when listeners snapped to the realization that they were being treated to tall tales, some taller than others — possibly including the "two grouse bagged with one shot" mentioned above.
Bob leaves many people mourning his passing: His wife, Barbara; sister, Terri Swan; brothers Bill and Mark; sons Timothy and Patrick; daughters Dorothy Baker (Sam Ginnett) and Lisa Abbott (Jon); stepsons Patrick, Brian, and Terrence Murray; stepdaughters Barbie Odom and Cathy Murphy; grandchildren TerraLee, Sheena, and Shaun Baker; Justin and Charleen Garvin, SammyJo Ginnett, Erin and Alex Abbott, and Liam Buckley; several great-grandchildren; nephew Michael Christensen and niece Tera Christensen; cousins Brad (Dotty) and Billie Bennett (Diane) Barr, Billie and Bobby Barr, Ginger Barr, Peggy Barker, Sue (Dan) Wallace, Sandy Roseburg, Greg (Kathy) Barr, Linda (Bill) Banks, Hal Hamilton, Hallie Stonedahl, Jimmy Cornetta, Janie Cornetta (Dave) Hinckley.
Wherever you are, Honey, Daddy, Bobby: So long for now; we'll see you on the other side. Bob's funeral service, with military honors, will be held Friday, April 1, 2016, at 9:30 a.m., in the Tahoma National Cemetery: 18600 SE 240th Street, Kent, WA 98042-4868, phone 425-413-9614. For details, call Barbara, Brad, or Terri.
Published in Bellingham Herald on Mar. 25, 2016