Wendell E. Buckler
COLUMBIA — Wendell E. Buckler approached life the way he approached people: with a Bible in hand and enthusiasm in his heart.
“He had a love for Christ and love for the lost and did not want anybody to go out of this world without the knowledge of Christ,” said Don Bristow, who attended church with Mr. Buckler.
Mr. Buckler died Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. He was 86.
He was born March 12, 1924, to Jodie Cephas and Willie Mary Stidham Buckler. Mr. Buckler lived his entire life in Boone County.
As a young man, Mr. Buckler was dedicated to his family, helping out on their farm.
His brother, Leland Buckler, said he remembered gathering there on Sundays for big dinners. When his parents died, Mr. Buckler took over the farm's business responsibilities.
He served with the U.S. Navy for two years in the Pacific during World War II.
Mr. Buckler married his wife, Laura Jane Graves, on Jan. 26, 1945.
He began working at Electrolux Vacuum in 1957 and was the manager of the company's Columbia branch for several years. While there, he was known as an honest man one could rely on. He also worked for McClain's Furniture Store.
“In all those years, I don’t recall anyone who didn’t think he was just a great guy,” said Rod Klobnak, a 30-year colleague of Mr. Buckler’s. “He was the kind of person you were very glad to be associated with.”
Two of Mr. Buckler’s biggest commitments were his memberships to Calvary Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon, and The Gideons International. He was a founding member of the Camp Gideon in Columbia and made it his life’s work to share the word of God.
“Wendell was the type of individual that never saw a stranger,” Bristow said. “He met people in all walks of life. He was a master at making people at ease.”
Those who worked with Mr. Buckler spoke of his energetic spirit and dedication to the testament.
“He was very sort of vibrant and always liked to talk a lot," said fellow Gideon Connie Howe, 74. "He was very much an encourager. I noticed that more than anything,”
In 2008, Mr. Buckler was involved in a car accident. The crash left him injured and another fellow Gideon, Jerry Jennison, said the accident made it difficult for Mr. Buckler to continue his work.
“He was just not the same Wendell," said Jennison, 74. "He couldn’t get around like he did before the wreck. It took some of the enthusiasm out of him.”
But Mr. Buckler's physical ailments did not deter him.
“I know that he was not bitter because that’s life," Jennison said. "He was very optimistic.”
He is survived by his wife, Laura Jane Buckler of Columbia; a daughter, Rebecca Faye Buckler of Columbia; a son, Kevin Eugene Buckler of Columbia; two brothers, William Granville Buckler of Columbia and Leland Cephas Buckler of Higginsville; and a grandchild, Morgan Lynn Buckler.
Three of Mr. Buckler's sisters died earlier.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. Saturday at the church. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church.
Memorials may be sent to The Gideons International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN, 37214-0800, or Calvary Baptist Church, 606 Ridgeway Ave., Columbia, MO, 65203.
Tributes can be posted at parkerfuneralservice.com.