Shirley P. Buckler, age 71, passed away on April 25, 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Born May 16, 1941, in Tampa, FL to George Howard & Cupiedean (Willis) Pirkle, Shirley lived the majority of her life in the rural area west of Lakeland. She attended Winston Elementary School and graduated from "The Kathleen High School" in Kathleen, FL in 1959 with Valedictorian Honors. Shirley participated in the school system's Diversified Cooperative Training Program (DCT) working for the McCrory Corporation in Lakeland, then later as Manager of the McCrory Restaurant in Plant City.
Forgoing college studies, Shirley chose the career of a homemaker - marrying Joseph ("Joe") Buckler in July, 1959. Together, while raising their family, they worked side by side for over 40 years in establishing a dairy and beef farming operation. They remained in rural west Lakeland close to Shirley's original childhood home. To help pass the time, Shirley worked for a brief period at Wal-Mart in Plant City. Then, after fully retiring, the couple moved from the area, but only a short distance away to south Lakeland/Mulberry.
With all of her responsibilities at home, Shirley still found time for agricultural activities around central Florida while serving as a volunteer with 4-H and FFA youth programs and agricultural fairs. She was recognized by Polk County as both a 4-H Leader of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
Perhaps Shirley's greatest passion came in her devotion to her church work. After becoming a convert to the Roman Catholic faith, Shirley became a member of the Council of Catholic Women at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Lakeland. She provided many years of dedicated leadership and service. Shirley participated on the Western Deanery Board, which soon led her to the honor of being selected and serving a term as President of the Orlando Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. Shirley also served as a CCD teacher and Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister at St. Joseph's. Most recently she served as an active member of St. John Newman Council of Catholic Women.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents George Howard and Cupiedean Pirkle, and infant sister Myrtle Lee Pirkle. She is survived by her husband Joe Buckler, three sons and their wives -Bruce Buckler (Carol) Lutz, FL, Stephen Buckler (Nita) Lakeland, FL, and Charles Buckler (Melissa) of Bell, FL ; Two daughters and their husbands Beverly Roberts (Ritchie) Hillsborough, NC and Bernice Bass (Charlee) Lakeland, FL, 16 Grandchildren and 5 Great Grandchildren.
She is also survived by three brothers and their wives- Don Pirkle (Shirley Ann) of Nunnelly, TN, Joe Pirkle (Pat) of Lakeland, FL, and Kenneth Pirkle (Maxine) of Lakeland, FL ; Two sisters- Patricia Guillote (Harry) of Temple, TX and Judy DeLany of St. Petersburg, FL. A viewing will be held on Tuesday April 30, 2013 from 5-7 P.M. at Heath Funeral Chapel with a rosary service at 6:30 P.M. The funeral mass will be held on Wednesday May 1, 2013 at 10:30 A.M. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church with the interment to follow at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Plant City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests for you to donate to the St. Joseph's Catholic Church Building Fund or to the . Condolences may be sent to the family at


Funeral Home

Heath Funeral Chapel
328 South Ingraham Avenue Lakeland, FL 33801
(863) 682-0111

Published in Ledger from Apr. 28 to May 1, 2013