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Lester Buckalew

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BUCKALEW, Lester Lester Trammell Buckalew, of Kennesaw, Georgia died Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at his home following a long illness. He was 80 years old. Lt. Col. Buckalew, Chaplain USAF Ret., was born August 7, 1930 in Macon, Georgia to Rev. Clifford C. and Mamie Corinne Buckalew. He graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Arts, and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also completed USAF Command Staff College, USAF Squadron Officer School, USAF Chaplain School and USAF Advanced Chaplain Course; along with numerous continuing education courses in counseling and leadership. Prior to his military career, Lt. Col. Buckalew served civilian pastorates in Jasper, Alabama; McDonough, Georgia; Covington, Georgia; Fayette, Indiana; Duluth, GA; and Griffin, GA. In his 25 years in the Chaplaincy, Lt. Col. Buckalew was stationed at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX; Chennault AFB, Lake Charles, LA; Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL; Albrook AFB and Howard AFB, Panama Canal Zone; Charleston AFB, Charleston, SC; Camp New Amsterdam, Soesterberg, The Netherlands; Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA; Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE; Kunsan AFB, Kunsan, Korea; Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA; McGuire AFB, NJ; and retiring from Valdosta AFB, Valdosta, GA. He was awarded USAF Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, USAF Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Longevity Service Award with five Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Upon his retirement from the Air Force, Lt. Col. Buckalew became chief flight instructor at Shelby County and Bessemer Airports in Alabama before establishing and operating Alabama Air Foto aerial photography business from which he retired in 2002. Surviving Lt. Col. Buckalew are his loving wife and partner of over 61 years, Norma Waid Buckalew, Kennesaw; sons Trammell Waid Buckalew (Mary), Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Israel; Clifford Allen Buckalew (Barbara), Woodstock, GA; Doss Leander Buckalew (Kristen), Lithia Springs, GA; and daughter Roberta Jean Gibson (Allan) Calgary, AB Canada. He is also survived by a grandson, Doss Leander Buckalew, II (Amanda), Opelika, AL; and granddaughters Norma Ella, Nicole Josephine and Stacie Lee Buckalew, Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Israel. Also surviving are great-grandchildren Nathan and Emily Buckalew, Opelika, AL. His sister, Jean Norman of Franklin, TN and brother, Clifford Buckalew (Anita), Duluth, GA, also survive as well as eleven nephews and three nieces and their families. Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Marietta First Baptist Church with Dr. Bill Ross and Rev. Dean Hunter officiating. Burial will follow in Westview Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. The family will receive friends on Friday from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m. at the church. Online condolences may be made at
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Apr. 28, 2011
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