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Robert Chapman Buckley 1923-2017

Robert Chapman BuckleyRobert Chapman Buckley, retired Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, was born on August 14, 1923, in Canton, Illinois to Peter Mark and Marguerite nee Waugh Buckley. He died Tuesday, November 28, 2017, surrounded by family in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Justice Buckley attended St. Mel High School in Chicago. After attending Morton Junior College, Justice Buckley enlisted in the Army and immediately joined the Army Air Corps. He served as a pilot, navigator, and radar operator for the 305th Bomb Group, flying daytime raids in B-17 bombers out of Chelveston, England. He was recognized for his service with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the European Theatre Ribbon with four battle stars, and the Army Commendation Ribbon.

After the war, Justice Buckley returned home and graduated from De Paul University and then went on to Georgetown University, from which his received his Juris Doctorate degree and was a member of the legal fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. While a full-time law student, he worked nights at the U.S. Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. as a Capitol Police Officer.

The day he opened his law office in Chicago, Justice Buckley, then an Air Force reservist, was called to serve in the Korean conflict. He left once again, this time to fly jet refuelers. 

Upon his return to the U.S., Justice Buckley was in private practice from 1953 to 1966. In 1959, he was elected to the part-time position of police magistrate in Arlington Heights. In order to better serve the rising Hispanic population who appeared before him, he studied Spanish. In 1966, he became a Cook County Magistrate, then an Associate Judge, and in 1972 he was elected to the position of Circuit Court Judge. 

His service as an Air Force reservist continued, and, as a lawyer, he served in the Strategic Air Command and in the JAG Corps through the Vietnam War, retiring as a Colonel in 1974. 

Justice Buckley was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District, in 1978. In 1981, Justice Buckley was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court and served as Presiding Judge in the First Division from 1983 to 1986. He also chaired the Appellate Court Executive Committee in 1989, and continued to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court until his retirement in 2002.

His many hobbies included sailing, cycling, golfing, dancing, fishing, community theater and watching the sunsets over Acapulco Bay.

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Sara Anderson
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