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Clifford James Buckley, USAFNovember 24, 1936 – September 29, 2017
Dr. Clifford James Buckley, a nationally and internationally esteemed vascular and endovascular surgeon, died on September 29, 2017, at the age of 80 due to complications from a fall. His life was one of service…to his patients, his colleagues, his country, and his family.
Born on November 24, 1936, in Rahway, New Jersey, Dr. Buckley received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Hahnemann University in 1962. He completed his surgical internship at Hahnemann Hospital in 1963. After enlisting in the United States Air Force (USAF) and serving in Vietnam, he completed his general surgery residency at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in 1973 and his vascular surgery fellowship at Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital in 1974.
In all, Dr. Buckley had 16 years of service with both the USAF Medical Corps and the USAF line operations, serving as Officer in Command/Surgeon for Pararescue during the Vietnam War and later as Program Director for the largest surgical residency program in the US military. His last military assignment was as Colonel in the USAF Medical Corps and Chairman, Division of Surgery, Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. In his words, “I view my time spent working with USAF Parasrescue as the pinnacle of my career. It brought me in close contact with a group of persons who would willingly give their all — including their lives, if necessary — to rescue and then care for person(s) in need of their highly skilled services.”
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Accommodation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Flight Surgeon of the Year, and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship, to name but a few.
Dr. Buckley spent 15 years in the practice of vascular surgery in San Antonio, Texas, with his partner, Dr. Larry Manning. While there, he was affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, and the Baptist and Methodist Hospital Systems. In 1993, he and his partner came to Temple, Texas, to establish the Division of Vascular Surgery at Scott & White Hospital. Dr. Buckley was involved in healthcare administration, teaching, and the practice of vascular surgery for the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System and Baylor Scott & White Health for the next 24 years. He served as Director of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Executive Vice-Chair for the Department of Surgery at Baylor Scott & White. Dr. Buckley also served as the Associate Chief of Staff for Surgical Services at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System; former Chair of the Vascular Surgery Advisory Board for the National Director of Surgery VHA; Chief Surgical Consultant for VISN 17, and Professor of Surgery at Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine.
Dr. Buckley earned an Excellence in Health Care Delivery and Services Award from Texas A&M University of Health Sciences Center and the Malcom C. Grow Award from the USAF. More recently, he was selected for inclusion into Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest. Dr. Buckley authored over 70 peer-reviewed articles and 6 book chapters and served as Co-Guest Editor for Seminars in Vascular Surgery. He was a lecturer and visiting professor at many national and international medical institutions, and at the time of his death, was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Endovascular Therapy.
Dr. Buckley was a member of many prestigious professional organizations. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Vascular Surgery, member and Past President of the Texas Surgical Society; Past President of the Texas Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society (formerly the San Antonio Vascular Surgical Society), and Past President of the International Society of Endovascular Specialists.Of his more than 55 years in the practice of medicine, with 45 of those years specializing in vascular and endovascular surgery, Dr. Buckley said, “This is the sum of a lifetime of work and I would not trade one moment of it to have done anything else. I love to teach and have been involved in training medical students, residents, and vascular surgeons.” Throughout his life, he enjoyed traveling, teaching, reading, and hunting.
Dr. Buckley is survived by his wife, Shirley Lee Buckley; his daughters Helen Buckley Bruemmer and husband Rodney Bruemmer, Kathryn Buckley Williams and her husband Douglas Williams Jr., and Jean Buckley Dumoulin and husband John E. Dumoulin Jr., Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.); sons Dr. Clifford James Buckley II and wife Brandy and Adam Reynolds Buckley; his 10 grandchildren: Chad, Graham, and Victoria Davis; Rodney, Margaret, and Amanda Bruemmer; Jack and James Dumoulin; Logan and Lillian Buckley; and his brother John R. Buckley and his wife Janice Havens. He is also survived by 3 stepdaughters: Traci Florio, Tammi Neely, Tiffany Caldwell and their respective husbands, children, and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Reynolds and Margaret Buckley.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on October 19th, 2017, at 4:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of Temple, located at 8015 West Adams Avenue.
On October 20th, 2017, Dr. Buckley will be buried with full military honors at Ft. Sam Houston Texas, Pavilion #2, at 11:15 am.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Pararescue Association, www.pjassociation.com. Please identify in the note section that the donation is made in memory of Dr. Clifford J. Buckley.