A Life Lived: Wayne Buckles was a chip off the old block

Published 12:45 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Editorial Director
Douglas Wayne Buckles, Jr. not only shared his father’s name, but he followed in his footsteps as a fireman and as Voice of the Unaka Rangers football team, and in many other things.
Wayne as he was known to family and friends died March 18 at the age of 54.
Like his father, he was employed by the Johnson City Fire Department as a fireman. He was a 22-year veteran of the department. It was at the fire department that he partially developed his culinary skills. Wayne was known far and wide for his cookouts. He did a lot of barbecuing and his smoked Boston Butt and ribs were a favorite of everyone.
“When you’re a fireman, you either learn to cook or carry your lunch with you as you are on the job 24 hours a day at a time, and you can’t leave to go eat. Wayne cooked for the firemen and they loved it. He enjoyed cooking almost as much as he did playing golf,” said his mother, Carolyn.
His trademark was his red hair, which earned him the nickname “Red” from many of his co-workers and friends. “Wayne loved life and he loved people. He had a quick wit and made everyone laugh. He was a very caring, loving and kind person, and would go out of his way to help someone,” said his mother.
A friend wrote on the funeral home tribute page: “My family and I loved coming to his famous cookouts and I’ll never forget him coming to our house to teach me and my husband how to do CPR. We had three young kids at the time and he stressed how important it was to know CPR. It meant a lot that he took the time to do that for us,” the friend wrote.
Another friend wrote: “He was such a sweet, funny, and kind person.”
Wayne’s mother shared that he lived in his father’s homeplace. “He had gutted the house and re-done it and took a lot of pride in it. He had a lot of talents. Wayne was a people person. He liked to laugh, but he was serious about his job, and he was proud to be a fireman, and he enjoyed teaching CPR,” she said.
Aside from being a fireman, Wayne enjoyed playing golf, and usually went on two or three golf trips a year. “Golfing was an activity he and his daddy enjoyed doing together. He had gone to California and played in the NCIS golf tournament (his cousin, Polly Perrette, was a member of the NCIS cast).
Wayne was also a big UT fan and he often worked UT home football games as a parking attendant. “Even his golf clothing was checkerboard orange,” his mother said.
During his high school days, Wayne was an athlete at Unaka High School, playing football, basketball, and baseball. When his father was no longer able to do the Ranger football games, Wayne took over as Voice of the Rangers, and his rendition of “Up the Creek” and “Unaka Football” still reverberates in the ears of many Ranger fans.
“Wayne was a people person, and he could entertain. He was a happy person and always wore a smile. He enjoyed being with people and doing things with and for them, and I think that’s how he would like to be remembered,” his mother shared.
In addition to his mother, Wayne leaves behind an older sister, Leigh Anne Rowe and her husband, Darrin, and a younger brother, Chad Dwayne Buckles, in addition to a niece and two nephews.
Douglas Wayne Buckles, Jr. will be remembered by a lot of people in many different ways, but, everyone will agree that his smile echoed happiness and love, and on sad days, Wayne’s smile would be a comforting presence.

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