Judge Sidney R. Buckley

Judge Sidney R. Buckley

June 30, 1921 – November 12, 2013


Pawpa2On November 12, Judge Sidney R. Buckley, 92, longtime resident of Kettle Falls, passed away surrounded by his family. Third generation homesteader, Sid was born to Russell and Mamie (Thorp) Buckley on June 30, 1921, on the family homestead in Chesaw, Washington.  He graduated from Kettle Falls High School in 1939, valedictorian of an impressive class of 12.  Since backwaters of the new Grand Coulee Dam were about to inundate Kettle Falls, he spent that Summer helping dismantle and move his high school.

His ticket to college during those Depression years was first football to Whitworth College and then boxing at Washington State College.  World War II interrupted all of that.  Glasses and a missing thumb denied him combat eligibility, so he found himself in “the genius corps” — Army Specialized Training Program in Berkeley.  The school for brilliant odd-balls folded after nine months of intensive engineering training just when the 11th Armored needed extra bodies for European duty.  Sid finagled his way into a combat unit just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.  He was walking point on lookout one February night in 1945 near Afs, Belgium, when he stepped on a landmine.  He survived.

The G.I. Bill afforded him access to U W Law School. Within the year, he met Ruby Rae Bisson, the vivacious daughter of an old family friend.  She was also attending the University of Washington.  They married on June 12, 1948, moved to Colville, and opened a law practice. The couple moved their growing family to Sid’s relocated home town of Kettle Falls in 1953.  He and Rae helped found the Democratic Central Committee in Stevens County. Between work as city attorney and volunteer time with the Kettle Falls Lions Club and Shrine, Sid played a lead role in building the community swimming pool, securing rights for the city water system and “stealing” the lights for the high school football field.  Along with old friend Arthur Avey, he even convinced a mutual friend, Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, to pass congressional legislation that authorized the building of an airstrip across the Canadian border near Laurier, Washington.

In 1956 he was elected prosecutor for Stevens County, a position he served in for 12 years before returning to private practice where he could provide legal assistance to the community where he was raised.  As an attorney,  Sid argued in front of the Washington State Supreme Court. One precedent-setting landmark case is still taught in Washington State law schools today.  He was elected to the Superior Court in 1972 and served on the benches of Stevens, Pend Oreille, and Ferry Counties for 12 years.

Judge Buckley spent his retirement from law indulging in his other loves: gardening, reading and travelling the world with his best friend Ruby Rae.

For all Judge Sid Buckley gave to his community, he gave his family even more.  His daughters will always be thankful to him for his love, support and guidance.  He taught them how to graft a rose, use a chainsaw, argue both sides of any issue and be active members of their communities.  Most importantly, he taught them the value of family.

Sid was preceded in death by his third daughter, Shauna Lynn.  He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Rae, daughters Apanakhi Jeri Buckley, Sydney Jean Buckley Blank and her husband Tom Blank, Betty Buckley and her husband Gregg Caudell, Jody Russelle Buckley, Erin Buckley-Noonan  and her husband Kurt Noonan, along with nine grandchildren and many, many friends.

Gifts in memory would be welcomed at the food bank and public assistance organization Sid helped found: KF Community Chest, P.O. Box 1145, Kettle Falls, WA 99141.

It was a fine life.

11 Responses to “Judge Sidney R. Buckley”

  • Angelina Wood says:

    Wow, Erin. Your Dad was one fine guy. This is an amazing write up about him. I’m glad I got to read it. I felt like I knew him after reading it and could imagine how he was if you did know him.

    Thinking of you, your Mom, your sisters, and the kids and the families.

  • Valer Stone Huguenin says:

    All of you are in my thoughts and prayers. No matter how good and long of a life a person lives, it is always a great loss. Sid was a great man whom I have always admired. God bless you all and may you find comfort in the love and memories of your husband and father.

  • Sue and Steve Petitpas says:

    Dear Jeannie, all the Buckley Ladies and their Families,
    Steve and I send our warmest condolences for the loss of your father. He sounds like a wonderful and lively person and will be remembered by his close-knit family and many friends. His inspiration lives on in your incredible family!
    With much love,
    Sue and Steve Petitpas

  • Roy and Donna Fosback says:

    How sad to lose yet another great legend of Kettle Falls. We have many memories of Sid over the years. He was loyal to our area and Kettle Falls all of his long and productive life. Our deepest sympathies to all the family. We share your sorrow.

  • victoria durant says:

    It was nice to learn more about your dad. Excited to hear that your dad was in the Battle of the Bulge, because my dad was also there. Years before his death in 2003 I went to numerous reunion luncheons for Battle of the Bulge veterans-what an amazing generation of men and women! Sending prayers to your family!

  • victoria durant says:

    Loved hearing about your dad’s life.
    My dad was also in the Battle of the Bulge and before his death in 2003 I went with him to numerous luncheons for Battle of the Bulge veterans. What an amazing generation of men and women! My heart goes out to you and your family!

  • Marsha Brauner says:

    So sorry to hear of his passing…. sending my prayers to your family……

  • Jackie Williams Fisher says:

    Thinking of you and remembering your dad and all of you girls with fondness.

  • Naomi Horowitz says:

    Just heard the sorry news. I have very fond memories of Syd and will always remember his lovely smile and gentle demeaner. My best wishes to the entre family.

  • Jeanne Avey says:

    Rae, Jeri, Jeannie, Betty, Jody, and Erin. I’m so very sorry for the loss of Sid. He and all of you were great family friends. I understand how hard it is to lose such a wonderful person, and you are never ready for it. But in time you will remember the good times. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • NormaJean (Richart) Hedlund says:

    Jeannie, Jeri and the rest of the family, Your dad was quite a man. I am sorry he is no longer with you but I know you have wonderful memories to help you through. Although I know Jeannie and Jeri the longest, I remember you all. God be with you through this time. NormaJean

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