(DALLAS, Texas) – Sara Frances Gregory Buckner, the last of the Buckner generation who helped establish and operate the ministries of founder R.C. Buckner, passed away Aug. 10 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Sara served alongside her husband, Robert Cooke Buckner, grandson of R. C. Buckner, at the Buckner Orphans Home from 1936 – 1954. She earned her education degree at Florida State University and then earned her master’s degree in Religious Education at Southwestern Theological Seminary, where she met her husband.
The Buckners worked at Monroe Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home from 1934 to 1936 before moving to Dallas to work with Robert Cooke’s father, Hal Buckner, at the Buckner Orphans Home.
Sara assumed Robert Cooke’s responsibilities at the home during World War II, when he served in the China-Burma-India Theater as a U.S. Army Infantry Colonel loaned to the Chinese Nationalist army during WWII. She helped care for 800- 900 children during this time and was known by many as “Colonel Bucker’s wife.”
Sara also traveled with her husband to Texas City in April 1946 to find homeless children that needed care following an oil field explosion that leveled buildings and homes.
Jerre Simmons, a former resident at the Buckner Orphans Home, said she admired Sara Frances deeply.
“As I have grown older, I am so aware of the many sacrifices she made for her family and herself to live in such an intentional community for children,” Simmons said. “She has become through the years a greatly esteemed icon. We did not know what a brilliant, educated, accomplished woman she was. Nor would we have known then how to appreciate her abilities.”
Simmons said Sara Frances led the Sunday School class for senior girls, providing both a spiritual and social “finishing school.” She remembered when Sara Frances hosted a luncheon for the girls in her home.
“We had never been to a luncheon, nor did we know what to expect,” Simmons recalled. “We had never been served on china plates with silver utensils. That event was, as everything she did, elegant. That word seems to belong just to her.”
Sara taught school in Dallas until her retirement and later returned to Tallahassee to live in her family home. She is survived by her sons Greg Buckner of Tallahassee and Richard Lee Buckner of Thousand Oaks, California, her daughter Emma Elizabeth Hargreaves of Canyon Country, California and her granddaughter Bonnie Kate Buckner.
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