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Dr. James Buckley, 84, Fergus Falls, MN


Dr. James J. “JJ” Buckley, 84, of Fergus Falls, died Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008, at his home.

James Joseph Buckley was born Jan. 22, 1924, in Bagley, one of nine children born to William and Mary (McPhillips) Buckley. He grew up in Bagley, graduating from high school in 1942. He played on the state champion basketball team — everyone has heard these stories.

The summer after graduating from high school, Jim began work as a deck hand on the W.E. Fitzgerald in Milwaukee, Wis. He sailed all the Great Lakes except Lake Superior.

Jim spent one year at St. John’s University in Collegeville, then joined the U.S. Navy. He returned to the University of Minnesota where he received a degree in engineering. This was followed by active duty, serving as a Naval Officer in the South Pacific with the 35th Naval Construction Battalion in World War II. He was discharged on Feb. 5, 1957.

While attending Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, he met Peggy Packard. They were married by Father Wessling on Feb. 11, 1950, at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Fergus Falls.

Jim and Peg were parents to three children, and lived in Fergus Falls for 58 years. When Jim moved to Fergus Falls, he began a long career in optometry, starting out with Dr. Combacker for several years. He opened his own office and practiced there for 40 years.

He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, BPOE, past service Rotary, AOA, and the Knights of Columbus.

Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, golf, archery, and bowling. He was an entertainer, and couldn’t walk by a piano without playing a tune. He often entertained the guests at the Senior Citizen’s Center. For years, his “Roadrunner” Band played for dances at the “Duck Camp” in North Dakota in the fall, and at a fishing camp in Canada in the spring.

He loved the outdoors and animals, and passed that love on to his children and grandchildren.

He also cherished poetry, music and a good book. Jim was fortunate to have his book of poetry, “Thoughts That Rhyme,” published just last summer.

Preceding him in death were his parents; four brothers, George, Eugene, John and William; and a sister, Patricia.

Survivors include his wife, Peggy, of Fergus Falls; three children, Francis (Barry) of St. Cloud, and his daughter, Cindy (Cary) Lindeman and children Trinity and Grant of Mankato, Mary Lee (Tim) Morris of Wahpeton, N.D., and their daughter, Erica, of Wahpeton, and Elizabeth “Beth” (Larry) Rudh of Fergus Falls and their son, Matthew Buckley (partner Chad Stevenson) of Bloomington; three sisters, Margaret Welander, of Fergus Falls, and Florence Sister Carmella Buckley and Mary Catherine Sister Brigetta Buckley, both of Mount St. Benedict in Crookston; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.


An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.