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Florence Buckley

January 10, 2014

Florence Ruby Rae (Bisson) Buckley was born April 27, 1926 on a houseboat on the St. Joe River near St. Maries, Idaho. She passed away on Dec. 21, 2013. The daughter of Bill and Ruby Bisson, she was raised by her beloved Choctaw grandmother, Florence (Bridgewater) Beamer, in Lewiston, Idaho. As a young woman, Rae helped with the war effort, first working at an airplane manufacturing plant as “Ruby” the Riveter, and then at the Colman Dock in Seattle. She graduated from Queen Anne High School before earning a BS at the University of Washington. In 1948, Rae achieved the three greatest accomplishments of her young life: she graduated from college, married Sid Buckley and voted for Harry Truman. The next year, Sid graduated from law school and they moved to Colville to establish his law practice. In 1953 they moved to Kettle Falls with the first two of what would become a family of six daughters. During those years, Rae helped found the Stevens County Women Democrats and the Kettle Falls Lady Lions. She helped build the community pool and was the first woman to take a swim in it, but not by choice. As a 25th anniversary gift, their daughters gave them a trip to England, where Sid had spent months recovering from injuries he had received in WW II. The two became adventurous travelers, visiting the far corners of the world, always on their own, always after months of planning: visiting her daughter in Australia, Nelson Mandela’s jail cell and chipping away at the Berlin Wall at the time of its fall. Her favorite trip was a safari in Zimbabwe. Rae was a lifelong liberal, philanthropist and supporter of the arts. Contributions in her memory may be made to any of her favorite organizations, including the Kettle Falls Lady Lions, the Kettle Falls Public Library, the Seattle Shakespeare Company or Planned Parenthood. Rae passed away on December 21, 2013 and was preceded in death, weeks earlier, by her best friend and favorite travel companion, Sid, and in 1956 by her third daughter, Shauna Lynn. She will be lovingly remembered by daughters Apanakhi Jeri Buckley, Jeannie 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. Her daughters will always lovingly remember her down-to-earth advice, posture and good grammar. As she often told them, “it’s never a problem being the best dressed person in the room.” She was truly an Idaho Ruby.

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