Published in the December 17, 2018 edition.
WAKEFIELD — MSgt. (ret.) John Stewart Buckley, 77, departed this life on December 1, 2018 at his home in Wakefield after a short illness.
John was born in Cambridge on June 21, 1941 and was raised by his maternal uncle and aunt, Dr. Eugene F. and Anna M. (Dickeson) Galvin and their daughter Joan (Galvin) Conway in Rosendale, N.Y. following the death of his mother Emma (Dickeson) Buckley in his infancy. He was affectionately known as Jackie and then “Uncle Jack” to his family.
He enlisted in the Air Force in 1962 and served multiple tours in Vietnam and was in Biên Hòa during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He retired from the service in 1984 after 22 years. During his service, he received numerous honors including the Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Vietnam Service Medal with Four Campaign Stars, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor plus Nine Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.
Following his military service, John attended Salem State College and received a bachelor of science in Geology. After graduation, he worked for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection until he retired in October 2008. In addition to his other responsibilities, he played the part of Santa Claus for many years for the friends and families of his co-workers at their annual holiday party. He cherished this role.
John was a historic train and railroad aficionado and was an avid rock and mineral collector. His interest in mineral collecting started in his boyhood when he spent countless hours scouring the famous cement mines in Rosendale for specimens with lifelong friend Jerry Nelson. He collected specimens during his world travels in the Air Force and extensively throughout his lifetime. John was a member of the North Shore Rock and Mineral Club and was a regular fixture at the “Rock Identification” booth at the Club’s annual show with his fellow mineral collector and lifelong friend William “Bill” Kelly.
John is survived by his family: Michael and Anna Maria (Torrano) Conway of Middletown, N.Y.; Peter and Patricia (Moriarty) Conway of Acton and Falmouth, and their children Catherine, Margaret, Ellen, and Patrick; Matthew and Susanna (Frith) Conway of Colorado Springs, Colo. and their children Nicole, Alexander, and Kelly; and Anne Marie Conway and her husband Art LaMan of Mansfield. He is also survived by his niece and nephews Donna (Mayo) Kavjian, Carmen Mayo, John Mayo, Joseph Mayo, and Robert Mayo.
In addition to his mother, he was predeceased by his father John J. Buckley and his sister Marion (Buckley) Mayo.
His funeral service will be held in the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Saturday, December 22 at 12 noon. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the funeral home prior to the service beginning at 10 a.m. Interment, Forest Glade Cemetery, Wakefield.