Cover photo for Dale Buckner's Obituary
Dale Buckner Profile Photo

Dale Buckner

May 12, 1943 — January 12, 2022

Dale Buckner

Dale is the son of Arch and Delores Buckner. Dale worked as a Hoskins Purchasing Agent for 25 years and as a Water License/Water Plant Operator at Charlevoix Township for 14.5 years. In addition, he was a volunteer firefighter for 45 years, and a reserve police officer for 7 years.

“Faith, courage, service true, with honor, over honor, over all;” A retired E6 Petty Officer First Class, Dale embodied this saying. He spent 4 years in active duty and 26 years as a member of the Navy Reserves. Dale was extremely proud of his Naval career and was always seen with some type of Navy Memorabilia. Dale’s Navy ballcap even led him to make friends with scuba divers, who were swimming in an aquarium, on a family trip to Disney World.

The Navy allowed Dale to travel the world. He visited many countries, and he enjoyed exploring the United States, particularly Alaska. Nothing excited Dale more than traveling to Japan, his favorite place in the world. He went there 10 times during his life, and what stood out to Dale most about Japan was the people. He always said, “The people were so genuine, you could walk around with a million dollars in your pocket, and it would still be there when you went home.”

With all the traveling Dale did, he was an expert in an airport. He never got lost and could give detailed directions of an airport, down to the signs on the walls, completely from memory.

When he was not traveling internationally, Dale loved being with his family. He married Darlene McClanathan on August 8th, 1970, and together they had three children, Heather, David, and Jeff. He loved taking the kids for doughnuts on the way to school and camping with his family when he wasn’t busy clowning around. Yes, Dale spent 7 years of his life as Bucky the Clown. Dale’s best friend, Bob, was a professional clown who needed a partner, thus came Bucky. Dale learned how to make balloon animals, became very skilled with clown makeup, and would attend church picnics to provide enjoyment for the children. Dale was also a proud member of the Masons.

Dale was quick to adjust to the role of Grandpa in later years. He continued his doughnut dates with his granddaughters, and whenever they came to visit, he was quick to pull extra chairs up to his computer, so they could join him in playing online games such as bowling and Monopoly.

Dale fought a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, but through it all, his focus was his family and his Navy career. Those were Dale’s proudest accomplishments.

Dale is survived by his wife Darlene, three children Heather (Mark) Sape, David (Lori) Buckner, and Jeff (Susie) Buckner, three granddaughters Julia, Alison, and Felicity Sape, brother Ron (Sally) Buckner, sisters-in-law Elizabeth Buckner and Shirley (Ron) Daugherty, brother-in-law Ron (Cheryl) McClanathan, and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father, mother, and brother Ernest Buckner.

The family would like to thank the staff at Boulder Park Terrace, along with Russ McCraney and the staff at Heavenly Helpers, for the amazing care and love that they gave Dale.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan, 201 State Street-Suite 7, Charlevoix, MI 49720.

The family asks that those who wish to join them in celebrating Dale’s life, please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 22, at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Reformed Church of Charlevoix with Pastor Chip Saur officiating. Visitation will be at the church beginning at 1:00 p.m. until the time of services at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The funeral service will be livestreamed on The Facebook page of the Charlevoix Community Reformed Church.

Arrangements are in the care of the Charlevoix Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.  Please sign his online guestbook at

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


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