Monday, December 20, 2004
Judge Buckner Remembered as Friend, Patriot by Colleagues At Superior Court
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alan G. Buckner was memorialized Friday as a man deeply devoted to his friends, his court, and his country.
Buckner, 65, died last Sunday from what the coroner concluded was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was operated on for prostate cancer nine months ago and had earlier undergone heart bypass surgery.
But the circumstances of his death were not mentioned Friday as judicial officers, staff members, and friends gathered in the presiding judge’s courtroom to express condolences to his widow, Irene Nava Buckner, and to recall what they prized in him.
The jurist, known to his friends as Buck or Al, was “a patriot, a military historian,” and a man with strong beliefs on public issues, especially those involving the military, Presiding Judge Robert Dukes said. When he transferred downtown from Pomona five years ago, Dukes recalled, “Buck became my friend,” helping out with all sorts of suggestions.
He would not hesitate to argue with a friend or colleague who disagreed with him, Dukes recalled. “He’d still be your friend, but he would remind you that you were wrong,” the presiding judge explained.
Dukes disclosed that he provided a high-tech introduction for Buckner, the author of an unpublished history of the attack on Pearl Harbor, to Dukes’ father, now 83 years old and a World War II veteran with a similar interest in military affairs and history. The two never met in person, Dukes explained, but became good friends by e-mail.
Retired Judge Arnold Gold recalled that he often saw Buckner working on his book in chambers on weekends, and said he hoped that it would be published or at least made available for research.
Others who spoke at the service included Judge Victor E. Chavez, a former presiding judge who was a close friend of Buckner; Assistant Presiding Judge William MacLaughlin; Judge Carolyn Kuhl; Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Curry, who had the courtroom next to Buckner’s when Curry was on the Superior Court; Judge Thomas Stoever; retired Judge Harvey Schneider; Judge Paul Gutman; Tustin attorney Edward Nava, Buckner’s brother-in-law; and Orange Superior Court Judge Mark Millard, a friend of Buckner’s since seventh grade.
Speakers commented on Buckner’s habits of writing personal notes to other judges, and sometimes greeting them with bear hugs. “He wasn’t just a hugger, he was an embracer,” Stoever commented.
He would sometimes send notes marked with “Xs and Os” at the bottom, Stoever recalled. “It takes strength to send that to another guy in the courthouse,” Stoever quipped.
Nava said there would be a memorial gathering at the Luxe Summit Hotel on Sunset Blvd. in Bel-Air on Jan. 9 at 4 p.m.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company