Obituary: William Harold Buckingham, 1947-2023 | Seven Days Vermont

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Obituary: William Harold Buckingham, 1947-2023 

Milton man was the lead entertainment at family gatherings

Published November 10, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated November 10, 2023 at 8:56 a.m.

William H. Buckingham - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • William H. Buckingham

William Harold Buckingham, 76, made his unexpected exit from this world after complications from a surgical “tune up” on Saturday, November 4, 2023. Bill was the firstborn of Lorraine (Lemay) and Frederick Buckingham. Some of his siblings say he was the favorite child, and there is no doubt he was doted on by his large extended family, which included many aunts, uncles and cousins. Then his four brothers and two sisters arrived, and he became the big brother with all the answers.

Bill was a self-proclaimed philosopher and expert on most things. Although he was usually right, he could convince others that he knew what he was talking about, even when he didn’t! Bill grew up in Mexico, Maine, and attended St. Theresa’s Catholic School, where he both caused mischief and melted the hearts of various nuns. He then attended Mexico High School, where he made his mark on the football, track and cross-country fields, and in English class. He was proud of his hometown and the lifelong friends he made there.

Bill decided to sabotage his college career at Plymouth State College by growing his hair too long for his father’s liking. Rather than cut his hair in exchange for tuition payment, Bill enlisted and became a sergeant in the United States Air Force and ended up with a buzz cut anyway.

After marrying his former wife and high school sweetheart, Gloria (Radcliff) Vaznis, Bill was stationed in Hawaii and faithfully guarded the pineapples and beaches from foreign and domestic terrors. After his first son, Christopher, was born and his service ended, Bill returned and settled his family back in Maine, and a few years later, daughter Lynn was born. Bill was extremely proud of his children, including his stepson, Ryan Delorme, who joined the family when Bill relocated to Vermont and met and married the love of his life, Sarah Elizabeth “Beth” (Delorme).

Bill was smitten from the start and Beth was no match for his baby blues and charm. Bill dabbled in several trades, including working as a mill worker and an officer with the Mexico Police Department before working in the telecommunications industry in Maine and Vermont for most of his adult life. Bill would point out locations and regale tales of cable troubles and the heroic lengths he would go to fix them (or maybe just supervise as others fixed them). He enjoyed meeting people and made connections with everyone he met. This led to his appointment as chief steward for Union IBEW 2326 and then, eventually, to his role as local manager for Verizon. Bill had the ability to cut to the chase and was often the voice of reason. He put people at ease and always, always made a wisecrack or joke. This past May marked 37 years of sobriety for Bill. He dedicated himself to growing from his struggles and was a sponsor for countless others in local Alcoholics Anonymous programs and led programs at Maple Leaf Treatment Center.

Bill was a professional napper and could fall asleep anywhere, anytime. He pretended to be a professional golfer for many years, and a few of his best friendships were created on the golf course. In retirement he loved to golf, but he especially liked to spend time in the yard around the home he shared with Beth. They would spend hours perfecting the lawn and perennials, as well as feeding and watching the birds. Bill’s full-time job was to cater to their beloved lab, Gustopher Butter Reginald Buckingham. The dog had the most loving companion and pampered life.

One of the greatest joys in his life was visiting with family in Maine. He was the lead entertainment at Lemay Reunions, along with his sidekick, brother Mike. Each year, he and his brothers, uncles, son, grandsons, cousins and adopted brothers would travel to special spots deep in the Maine woods to fly fish, eat, laugh, fart and tell stories — all favorites of Bill.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Buckingham, of Milton, Vt.; their son, Ryan Delorme, of Burlington, Vt.; his son, Christopher Buckingham, and his wife, Jill, of St. Johnsbury, Vt.; his daughter, Lynn, and husband, Alec Newell, of Bethel, Maine; grandchildren Nolan, Dane and Ella Buckingham, and Caroline and Emma Newell; brothers Russell Buckingham and wife, Debbie, of Sebring, Fla., Bruce Buckingham and wife, Bonnie, of Mexico, Maine, Michael Buckingham and wife, Kathy, of Litchfield, Maine, Matthew Buckingham of Poland, Maine; and sisters Laurie and her husband, Kevin Arsenault, of Berlin, N.H., and Cindy and husband, John Hutchinson, of Carthage, Maine. He is also survived by siblings-in-law Bert Delorme of Burlington, Vt., Ben Delorme of Rutland, Vt., Becky Delorme of Burlington, Vt., Barbara and husband Frank Brunette of Burlington, Vt.; niece Sabriana Decker and husband, Eric, and their children, Bradley, Lucy and Benjamin; as well as many special cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Bill was predeceased by his parents, Frederick Perley and Lorraine Theresa (Lemay) Buckingham, and mother-in-law, Angela Delorme.

A mass of Christian burial will be held at Saint Mark Roman Catholic Church, 1251 North Ave., Burlington, on Thursday, November 16, at 11 a.m., with burial to follow at Resurrection Park Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge, 925 North Ave., Burlington, Vt. A celebration of life in Maine will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are in care of LaVigne Funeral & Cremation Service. To send online condolences to his family please visit vtfuneralhomes.com.

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