In Starkville on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010, Louise Murphy Buckner, 89, was received home by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A funeral “Celebration of Louise Buckner’s Life” will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, at Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville. The Rev. Dr. Don Imgrund will officiate.
Chinese tenor Song Yang will provide special music. A graveside service will follow at Craig Springs Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, at Welch’s Funeral Home.
Louise was preceded in death by her husband, Ed Buckner; father, Luther Marion Murphy; mother, Lula Snellings Murphy; two sisters, Olene and Eunice Murphy; one brother, William “Fred” Murphy; and her daughter, Barbara Buckner Tyree. She is survived by five sons, Ed (Tricia) Buckner Jr. , Donald (MaryBob) Buckner and Johnny (Debbie) Buckner, all of Starkville, along with William “Bill” (Patti) Buckner of Madison and Joe (Suzanne) Buckner of Brandon.
There are 24 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren with two more on the way. When the Buckner clan gets together with their spouses there are over 100 people for whom Louise has been “Mom-ma,” the Loving Matriarch.
Louise Buckner exemplified a life well-lived. Respected as a faithful Christian wife and mother, she was also a poet, wonderful cook, gardener, teacher, writer, musician, foreign missions advocate and student of the Bible. She was very active in church and family life.
Louise was born Mary Louise Murphy to Luther and Lula Murphy in Craig Springs on April 6, 1921. She started school at the Craig Springs Schoolhouse and excelled in studies as she graduated salutatorian from Longview High School.
Formal education was put on hold as Louise gave herself to supporting her husband and mothering her six children. However, in her 50s she attended Wood Junior College, excelling again in English studies.
Fellow Longview High classmate Edward Avery Buckner took Louise’s hand in marriage at First Baptist Church, Starkville in 1939. They enjoyed 62 years together before Ed’s death in 2001. Their adventures together took them to Mobile during World War II where Ed worked in the shipyard and then back to Starkville and Mississippi State University where “Mr. Ed” served as the university’s first director of support services, retiring after over 40 years of service. Louise enjoyed working at MSU registration each year as she greeted students from all over the world.
Having grown up very active in church in the Craig Springs community, Louise joined her husband as he served as a deacon at Longview Baptist Church. When they moved to Starkville they faithfully served at Calvary Baptist, Meadowview Baptist and First Baptist churches. With generous and pioneering hearts, Ed and Louise enjoyed helping new mission churches get started. They became founding members and leaders of Meadowview Baptist and Broadmoor Baptist churches. As a widow, Louise became a founding member of New Horizons Christian Fellowship.
Louise was a much loved Sunday school teacher for senior ladies at Meadowview Baptist. Passionate for missions, she led in WMU circles at Meadowview and First Baptist. She was an avid member of the Gideon’s Auxiliary supporting placement of Bibles around the world.
Louise and Ed were local pioneers in ministry to international students and teachers at Mississippi State University. For many years, Ed and Louise weekly hosted international students in their home as they taught conversational English and led in Bible studies.
Ed and Louise were sent by MSU presidents to represent the university in Taiwan (where they helped start the Taiwan MSU Alumni Association) and to mainland China (where they forged sister relationships between MSU and premier Chinese universities.) They became lovingly known as “Big Pa” and “Big Ma” to all MSU Chinese students and teachers. They were honored with memberships in the MSU Association of Chinese Students and Scholars and the Taiwanese Student Association.
After retirement, Louise and Ed lived and served as missionaries for an extended time at a Boy’s Vocational School in Belize, Central America. Finally returning to Starkville, they traveled to China, Thailand, Hong Kong, England, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Australia, visiting and serving alongside their children in foreign missions.
Louise also pioneered with her husband in local jail ministry as Mr. Ed visited and led weekly Christian services and Bible studies in the Oktibbeha County jail for over 25 years.
They were both awarded a Prison Bar Cross for long term involvement with Bill Glass Prison Ministry, making ministry trips to prisons in several states. Louise blessed many incarcerated women with love and attention, as she shared the life-changing good news of Jesus.
Ed and Louise were faithful and generous supporters of their home church, New Enterprises International (NEI – foreign missions), Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Youth With a Mission (YWAM,) The Gideons, Beautiful Feet Outreach Ministry in Ft. Worth, Bill Glass Prison Ministry, March of Dimes, Jews for Jesus and Global Outreach to name a few.
Louise’s passions for foreign missions and her loving care for those hurting around her were contagious. It is a living tribute to Louise that all six of her children, and many of her grandchildren and great-grand children have served in Christian ministry and community service around the world.
In lieu of flowers, the her children suggest donations in memory of Mrs. Buckner be made to New Horizons Foreign Missions Fund, P.O. Box 80271, Starkville, MS 39759 or to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, PO Box 449, Ridgeland, MS 39158-0449.