Robert Buckner

Obituary of Robert F. Buckner

Asheville - On Monday, January 18, 2021, Robert Frank Buckner Jr., age 83 of Asheville passed away peacefully at the John F. Keever Jr. Solace Center Hospice.


He is survived by his five children, Mary Ann Conway (Keith) of Asheville, Kathy Evans (Keith) of Leicester, Karen Buckner of Swannanoa, Greg Buckner (Donna) of Clyde, Sonya Ledford (David) of Sherrills Ford; ten grandchildren, Cynthia Riley, Kimberly Riley, James Arrington, Michael Tate, Mallory Brockwell, Natalie Gillis, Kendra Memory, Jessica Buckner, Justin Buckner, Chase Ledford; and sixteen great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; two sisters, Sara Lehrer (Tim) of Spartanburg, SC and Frances Malala (Gi) of Pago Pago, American Samoa;  sister-in-law, Brenda Penland Buckner of Fairview; brother-in-law, Tillman Noles of Payson, AZ;  several nieces, nephews, and cousins; and dear friends, Betty Walker and Darren Hill who are family.


In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by infant sister, Brenda Elaine Buckner; grandson Sam Riley; brother Davidson Leonard Buckner; and sister, Anna Lee Buckner Noles.


A native of Buncombe County, he was the eldest child born to the late Robert Frank Buckner, Sr. and Katherine Reed Dermid Buckner on October 3, 1937.  He spent his early childhood years in the Reems Creek Community of Weaverville.  His parents owned and operated Buckner Transfer, a trucking company in Biltmore which is where, as an adolescent boy, “Buck” as he was nicknamed, developed his expertise as a long-haul semi-tractor trailer truck driver.  Many would say he cut his teeth on the steering wheel of a semi-truck.  He had the skill to back a semi-tractor trailer down narrow passages to deliver furniture to mom-and-pop stores across Arkansas and Oklahoma, often steering around obstacles in reverse.  Where the average person would have had difficulty maneuvering an oversized vehicle in such a tight spot, the ability came naturally to him.  He also had a knack for packing, stacking, and blocking freight in a manner to avoid shifting and damage while in transit.  He drove for Pilot Freight, and  in 1974, he purchased his own semi-truck, a Peterbilt, and became an owner-operator for Norton Ramsey out of Hickory.  Robert also leased his truck in later years to Spartan Express and ultimately retired from Estes Express Lines.  He was known on the CB radio as the “White Mule” and it was a fitting handle because he was unique, could be stubborn at times, and liked to do things his way.  He loved beach trips, teasing, laughing, and telling stories of his many adventures to anyone who would listen.  He served in the United States Army and was a member of Riverside Baptist Church.


A special thanks is extended to the staff and resident Tony Goodman of Pisgah Manor as well as the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mission St. Joseph Hospital and John F. Keever Jr. Solace Center Hospice for their care, love, and support.


For those who wish to pay their respects, Mr. Buckner will be available for viewing between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at West Funeral Home, 17 Merrimon Ave., Weaverville.  The family will not be present.


Due to COVID-19, the family has chosen to have a private ceremony.


The private funeral service of family members will be held in the Chapel of West Funeral Home.  Reverend John Honeycutt will officiate.  A private burial will be in the Brank Cemetery.


Per the NC Governor, masks are required. Those who choose may listen to the service on their car radio by tuning into FM 87.7, while in the parking lot of the funeral home.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Riverside Baptist Church, 871 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC  28804.


For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Robert’s obituary at 

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