Gene Bucklin (1942 - 2008)

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Gene Bucklin, 65, was killed in a fatal car accident near his home of Chinook on Feb. 16, 2008. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Chinook High School, Lloyd Sweet Auditorium, with fellowship following at the United Methodist Church Wallner Hall.

Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.

Gene was born May 24, 1942, in Billings to Frank and Dyllis(McGill) Bucklin. He grew up on the family farm north of Redstone and attended grade school in Redstone and Outlook, Mont. He graduated from Outlook High School in 1960 and continued to work on the family farm, trap, and help various other neighbors with their agricultural operations.

On Sept. 5, 1969, Gene married Helen (Geske) Bucklin in Carrington, N.D. He rough-necked on the oil rigs for a time near Sidney, then returned to the family farm. In 1976, he was recognized as the Outstanding Conservation Farmer and presented an award by the Sheridan County Conservation District.

Gene also attended Williston Vo. Tech. in Williston, N.D., where he studied welding technology. He enjoyed school and earned straight A's. After college, he worked for Don Steven's welding service on oil rigs for a year and a half.

In 1979, he began a lifelong career as a federal government trapper with the United States Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture and moved to Chinook. He spent many hours in airplanes and helicopters hunting coyotes with more than 21 different pilots over the years.

Gene never won the simulated coyote shooting contest at the annual conference held each year for the trappers, but one of his fellow trappers said, "Bucklin, if that were a real coyote, you would win hands down!" In 2007, Gene was awarded the Trapper of the Year award for his district. He always felt there were others more deserving of the award than he.

Gene believed in agriculture and the sheep industry and wanted to see them flourish and grow. He supported 4-H and FFA youth for many years.

Gene is survived by Helen, his wife of 39 years; his oldest daughter, Laura Jean Thomas, and her husband, Brian and their daughter, Taylor of Bozeman; his daughter, Sarah Ann Bucklin of Casper, Wyo.; his son, Charley and his wife, Natalie and their children, Austin, Chandlor, George and Danika of Cut Bank; his two brothers, John Bucklin of Outlook, Steve Bucklin and his wife, Teresa of Outlook; and two sisters, Lynette Hunt and her husband, Randy of Globe, Ariz., and Mary Riedlinger and her husband, Jim of Outlook; and numerous nieces and nephews, their spouses and children.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dyllis and Frank Bucklin; an infant sister; his father-in-law, Leonard Geske; a sister-in-law, Barbara West Bucklin; brother-in-law, Mike Geske; and his paternal and maternal grandparents.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 19, 2008
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