|In Memorium Beverly K. Buckley|
|aka "The Dog Lady"; "Queen of Sarcasm"; "The Energizer Bunny"
Educator, Artist, Master Bureaucrat, Partner
Caring, perseverant (some say stubborn), relentless, sensitive, artistic, passionate, pragmatic, resourceful, exceptionally intelligent and sometimes downright cranky. Bev was an enigma, even to those who knew her well. Completely fluent in French, with passable German and Spanish she had a gift for language, and made pie crusts look easy.
She won a scholarship to the Universite de Strasbourg in France. She signed up for math classes, figuring it would be easier to learn French by starting with something she already knew. She rode the rails of Europe before returning to the U.S. to complete her B.A. at Juniata College. She met her first husband Michael during that time, when her daughter Kirsten was born. Alas, she became a single mother in New York. She took work as an au pair to the Peele family, as a cook/counselor for summer camps, and a budget analyst for the state of New York. Eventually she moved to Arizona to be with her family.
In 1975 she joined the Tucson Police Department where she moved up to become Personnel Supervisor and assistant to two Chiefs of Police. She was awarded the "Copper Letter" from the Mayor for outstanding service to the city. Always independent, even in the days before political correctness, she always told me, "I was doing just fine till the liberals decided I needed help."
What She Did
Bev again moved up the ladder to become Director of Systems Control where she was responsible for making sure everybody got paid on time and out of the right pot of money -- eventually she took over as Database Administrator for the Budget/HR database. She also took on special projects. Bev completed the first thorough, statistically sophisticated, salary equity study ever done at the UofA. She was chair of the Data Stewards committee (building a unified data dictionary for the University). She created the Bright Ideas program for employee suggestions. Bev took over as lead Systems Analyst for overhauling PSOS (the Personnel/Budget program). She also introduced flex-time scheduling for staff positions, and created innumerable training, education, and process streamlining to the budget system. When she retired in 2005, her department was running on essentially the same budget as it was in 1988. She won the Governor's Award for Excellence in 1996 and the Arizona Public Administrators Award for Excellence in 1998.
An Unlikely Team
I remember when she presented a consolidated personnel form that would replace 8-10 different documents with just one. She came home from President's Council discouraged. Faculty couldn't possibly be treated the same as staff - when they needed to change their home address. The Mr. Spock in me was screaming "illogical". Bev thought about it. Took the form, reprinted it with a different font, on different colored paper for faculty. The next day it was unanimously approved. A perfect "Bev Solution". Nothing pleased me more than hearing her come home after she told some high level bureaucrat to "grow a pair" or walked out of a meeting because she thought it was a waste of time.
Throughout her career, she always cared about the individuals at the other side of the system. When somebody bungled paperwork, or circumvented procedures, Bev always found a way to make sure that the employee got paid. And always went the extra mile to make sure her own people were taken care of. Bev was much happier with projects that had a goal. She despised meetings, petty politics and coddling those with too-thin skin.
Converting the Curmudgeon into a Dog Lover
Bogart, a scary looking shepherd/chow mix was no doubt her favorite. Her constant companion, protector, and quiet alpha male, she grieved for him for years. I know they will find each other and run with their faces to the breeze. Two of the best gifts she ever gave me -- Radar (my rescue Rottie mix & best bud) and my Rockwell JawHorse. She is survived by Radar, and our two 12 year old "sisters" Carmella (120 lb Bloodhound) & Sophie (25 lb cocker)
Artist & Teacher
Bev always enjoyed music, mostly contemporary and classical and loved the symphony. She joined the faculty/staff choir for a couple of years. She enjoyed performing, even though she was more alto than soprano. She did a unique cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" on her accordian. I think everybody was pretty impressed.
Bev always had a creative side. She sketched, painted, wrote poetry, and sewed. Like everything else she did, each sewing project became immersive and all consuming. Despite a series of health setbacks over the last 3 years, she managed to complete a variety of table runners, placemats, dresses, pillows and throws for those she cared about. If you have one of her pieces, treasure it for us.
Her artwork will be on display at her life celebration/memorial. It provides some insight into the enigmatic spirit that I loved so much. She had eclectic taste in music, loved historical biographies and murder mysteries, and wound up as a total news junkie as far as TV goes.
Finally at Peace
In many ways, our dependence on each other brought us back to the beginning of our time together, united in a struggle to rebuild our lives and recall what brought and kept us together. We both believe:
I know after 26 years together, I must build a new life. Bev will always be a part of it. I will miss that big smile. She will live as long we remember her. I will carry out my promises to take care of her dogs, and help her daughter Kirsten carry on the life of her choosing.
Lou Coraggio, Husband, Partner, Best Friend, May 17, 2012