The First United Methodist Church in Killeen was filled with song, prayer, laughter and tears as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life of a lifelong teacher at her funeral service on Tuesday.
Annie Roe Buckley, 102, died Friday in Killeen.
The front of the church brimmed with vibrant flowers: orange, pink, yellow, purple and beyond. More than 400 people filled the church pews and a 15-person choir guided the congregation through several hymns.
The theme that resonated was Buckley’s commitment to her family, friends, students and neighbors, said her grandson, Brad Buckley, a Killeen veterinarian who also is the Texas House District 54 GOP nominee.
Buckley and two of her granddaughters shared memories about their beloved grandmother.
“To explain what she meant to my life is hard to put into words,” Buckley said. He said it would be like describing the importance of blood to a beating heart.
Kelli Strother, granddaughter, keeps the lessons she learned close to her heart.
“She taught me, ‘Remember who you are,’ which is meaningful and enduring advice but it took me awhile to understand what that meant,” Strother said. “Now we give the same advice to our kids. She was a role model and one of the strongest women I’ve ever met.”
Strother described her grandmother as “patient and humble” and said she “always looked like a million bucks.”
Rachel Thompson, granddaughter, said going to the shopping mall with her grandmother made her feel like a celebrity, or at least the granddaughter of a celebrity.
“She knew everyone, and she treated everyone with kindness and respect and always made me feel loved,” Thompson said.
Pastor Alan McGrath also talked about love.
“She was textbook agape, which is a love found in selfless actions and sacrifice, without expecting anything in return,” he said. “She touched thousands of lives, forming a network of care and love that begins in Killeen and goes out into the world.”
Buckley taught at East Ward Elementary and Bellaire Elementary before retiring from the Killeen Independent School District in 1978. Prior to her career at KISD she taught at Mountain View, Hay Branch and Union Grove near Killeen.
She was buried at the Killeen City Cemetery.