Cover photo for Patrick Francis Buckley's Obituary
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1928 Pat Buckley 2024

Patrick Francis Buckley

December 27, 1928 — May 6, 2024

Sweetgrass

 

Patrick Francis Buckley, 95 passed away on May 6, 2024, at 2:45 AM in Cut Bank Montana after a long and colorful life.

Graveside service will be Saturday, May 11, at 2:00 pm at Sweetgrass Cemetery. A reception at the Sweetgrass Legion Hall will follow the service.

 Pat was born in 1928 to Patrick T. Buckley and Dorothy Aman Buckley in Great Falls, Montana. He spent his early childhood on the historic Blarney Castle Ranch, located seven miles west of Sweet Grass and recalled these years as the happiest of his life. Blarney Castle Ranch was founded in 1887 by Patrick H Buckley and Annie Tenant Buckley. It was here were “Little Pat” learned to be a great storyteller from “Big Pat” and “Old Pat” in evenings on the veranda and by the iron stove. He would use this talent to connect with other people for the rest of his life.

 Pat attended the Sweet Grass Elementary Oilfield School and Sweet Grass High School. He joined Great Falls Air National Guard Unit 146 in 1959. He was called to active duty and deployed to Moody, George, and Francis E. Warren Air Force Bases during the Korean War. After his military service he graduated with honors from the Lincoln Electric Welding School in Cleveland, Ohio with Dennis Buckley, and Henry Alme. Over his lifetime he became a master welder and fabricator.

 Pat operated Buckley Construction in Montana and Arizona, a company he formed during the development of Moulton Field. While in Arizona, he was active in mining and prospecting. Pat the “Junk Man” loved antique machinery and mining equipment and understood how they worked and how to make them run. He collected them his entire life. Visitors can see his oil drilling equipment collection at The Canadian Museum of Making, a private museum near Cochrane, Alberta. Here the historic pump jack is once again operating with its enormous flywheel installed in its original engine house. Pat’s story of the Border Field is documented in video at the museum. 

 Pat's remarkable memory transformed his storytelling, establishing him as an oral historian. Teaming up with his sister, Bonnie Buckley Maldonado, they authored three books of narrative poetry about family history and Montana. Among the tales left untold lies the legend of his journeys in the red canoe along the Milk River—a rare gift to those fortunate enough to accompany him. Enriched with the company of family and old friends, his many adventures also saw him relishing connections with total strangers.

 If in your travels, you see a small handsome man in a cowboy hat with twinkling blue eyes and a story on his smile it will be Pat.

 He is preceded in death by his parents, Patrick and Dorothy Buckley, his three brothers, Mike Buckley, Jerry Buckley, and Clarence “Joey” Birdrattler, nephews John Buckley, Floyd and Dennis Marriage.

 He is survived by his sister Bonnie Buckley Maldonado, sister in-law Roberta “Bobbie” Buckley, cousins Bill Boetcher, Dennis Buckley, and Debbie Buckley Elhert; nieces and nephews Erin, Jeanne, Karen, Tim Buckley; Bridget Maldonado Sakells, and grandnephews and grandniece Shayne Marriage, Kristine and Patrick Buckley, as well as many cousins and a host of friends. Pat leaves behind his dearest friends Henry and Diane Alme, Japheth and Alice Howard, their children, and Peter M. Hofer.

 “Whether Pat had a dollar in his pocket or million, he lived like he was the richest man on Earth.” – One of the many thousands of friends

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Patrick Francis Buckley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Sweetgrass Cemetery

, Sweet Grass, MT 59484

A reception at the Sweetgrass Legion Hall to follow service.

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