Daniel James “Jim” Buckmiller, age 86 of Crookston, MN, passed away early Friday morning, May 7th, 2021, at Riverview Health, with his family at his side. A private family graveside service with Military Honors will be held on Tuesday, May 18th at 10:00am, at the Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston, MN.
Jim was born on October 7th, 1934 in Jamestown, North Dakota to Dan and Ann (Neuharth) Buckmiller. In the spring of 1941 his family moved to Crookston. Before graduating from Crookston Central High School in 1952 Jim played football, hockey, and baseball. He then attended the University of North Dakota, graduating in 1956 with a degree in education and a commission in the United States Army, Armor Branch, as a 2nd Lieutenant. Jim married his high school sweetheart, Norma Lou Bratrud, on November 24th, 1956, in the Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston. During his two years of active duty with the Army they were stationed in Fort Knox Kentucky, and Fort Lewis Washington. After his honorable discharge in December of 1958 Jim and Norma returned to Crookston. Jim joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1959 and retired with the rank of Major in October of 1977. His assignments during his Guard career were as Weapons Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Company Commander of the Crookston unit, Battalion Motor Officer, Battalion S-4, and after promotion to Major, assignment to Battalion S-3, and then Battalion Executive Officer. Jim earned many decorations during his 25-year Military Career, including the Army ROTC Honor Guard Award from UND in 1955, and the Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, Army Reserve Medal, and United States Army Medal. Jim was a Distinguished Military Graduate, receiving an Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Minnesota Commendation Medal, and the Minnesota Longevity Medal. While wearing the uniform of his country he was proud of every minute of his service.
While settled back in Crookston, Jim worked for the Crookston Milling Company, Mason/Brost Chevrolet, JR Simplot Co., Dahlgren and Company, and American Aerostar. In 1987 he became the Director of The Glenmore Recovery Center, remaining in this position until his retirement from Riverview Health in September of 1999. After retirement, Jim continued to stay busy, working on a part time basis with the Emergency Management Department of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Involved in his community, Jim was a devoted member of Trinity Lutheran Church, serving on various church boards including the Trinity Lutheran Foundation, the Crookston Kiwanis Club, and the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Masonic Order, past Master of the Crookston Masonic Lodge, and conducted many Masonic members funerals. Jim served on the board of directors for the Oakdale Cemetery Association and was a member of Polk County Triad. He was also a committee member of the Minnesota Employer Support for Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and was appointed Northwest Regional Chairman, receiving the Department of Defense - ESGR Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedicated service. Jim was a loyal member of Crookston American Legion Post 20, holding continuous membership until his passing.
A true and dedicated patriot, Jim continued his service through membership with the Crookston Veteran’s Council, the Veteran’s Council for Flag Details, as Chairman of the Veteran’s Memorial Walkway Taskforce and the Crookston Memorial Park for Veteran’s. As a member of the Funeral Honor Guard Detail Jim considered it to be a privilege to honor those he served with, and he was proud to present the flag to so many families of his fallen brothers in arms.
Throughout his life Jim was most happy when involved in activities that included family and friends. Being an avid sportsman, hunting, fishing, and target and trap shooting were among his favorites. Often, the early spring found Jim’s family, along with friends and neighbors, preparing for the possibility of the flooding of the Red Lake River that surrounded his neighborhood. Walking the dikes, sandbagging, and preparing food for the volunteers kept everyone very busy. Jim cherished his friends, as they enjoyed weekly visits over coffee while attempting to solve the world’s problems. Jim and Norma shared over 64 wonderful years together as they tended to their home and yard, hunted, fished, camped, and went on bus trips/ casino runs. They truly enjoyed each other’s company. A loving family man, Jim cherished the time he spent with his family watching Nascar races, Minnesota Gopher hockey and football, and working on projects that “will only take about 10 minutes.” Becoming a grandfather was one of Jim’s proudest moments, and he was very involved in his only grandson, Noah’s life. As a devoted grandfather, Jim cherished his time with Noah, teaching him how to drive, shoot, hunt, and fish, with multitudes of other life lessons along the way. The autumn often found Jim and Noah enjoying countless sunrises and sunsets, drinking and spilling gallons of coffee and hot chocolate, and watching many ducks, geese, and deer get away. Recent summers found Jim and the family cheering on Noah at local dirt tracks.
Jim leaves behind Norma, his loving wife of 64 years; their daughter and son-in-law, LuAnn and Rob Metzger; and grandson, Noah, his “best buddy.” Also surviving is a sister, Leota Kettler, of St. Paul, MN; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: John and Jean Thomforde, Doug and Mary Bratrud, and Pat Bratrud; and very special nieces, nephews and their families.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Ann Buckmiller; parents-in-law, Norman and LuLu Bratrud; brothers-in-law, Bernard Kettler and John Bratrud; niece, Joan Mercil; nephew, Mark Menge; and several aunts, uncles, and other beloved family.
“Jim, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, you will be sincerely missed and always loved; you made a difference in our lives. Rest in peace, you have earned it.”
Online registry and messages of condolence may be made at www.stenshoelhouske.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Daniel J. "Jim" Buckmiller, please visit our floral store.