She was known not only as a teacher who impacted the lives of thousands of Killeen students. She was known as a friend.
That’s what many remember of Annie Roe Buckley, 102, who died Friday, in Killeen.
Buckley lived in Killeen most of her life, growing up on a cotton farm north of the city and walking two miles every day on the way to school. She would eventually walk into school as a teacher for 40 years, teaching in a small, two-room building during her early years in education. After Fort Hood came to the area, East Ward Elementary was constructed, and she began teaching there before moving to Bellaire Elementary.
Buckley was the wife of Leo Buckley, who died Dec. 28, 1979. Leo Buckley is a well-known former coach for Killeen High School, and the namesake for Leo Buckley Stadium.
Annie Buckley was the grandmother of Dr. Brad Buckley, Texas House District 54 GOP nominee.
Area resident Nancy Schulte said she learned more than just reading, writing and math from Mrs. Buckley in first grade at East Ward. Much of what she learned came from the teacher’s nature and behavior.
Only once through grade school did Schulte get in trouble. She’ll never forget when, in 1961, Mrs. Buckley caught her being disruptive by a classroom in session.
Schulte missed recess that day and had to stay inside with her teacher.
“It wasn’t really a punishment, you see,” Schulte said.
Schulte, one of Buckley’s many pupils, grew to become her friend in adulthood.
“She taught me to be honest ... she instilled faith in me, and reminded me that God is important through her actions,” Schulte said. “She taught me honesty, to love my neighbor, and that through education, you can make something of yourself.”
Schulte’s brother, businessman and former Killeen Councilman Kenny Wells, remembers Buckley as a “fellow of the community,” who had to be at least close to being the oldest living person in Killeen.
“She was just everyone’s first-grade teacher,” Wells said.
Wells also remembers Buckley as a proud member of the First United Methodist Church in Killeen at 3501 E. Elms Road.
Buckley had an encyclopedia of knowledge, said Corbett Lawler, board president for the Killeen Independent School District.
Lawler recalled mentioning her name a few days ago in church. A woman chimed into the conversation at hearing the name of her first-grade teacher.
“If you wanted to know anything about anybody, her memory was so sharp, she could tell you about somebody, how many children they had and what happened to the children,” Lawler said. “I think it’s because of all the lives she touched over the years.”
To Lawler, the Buckleys were legendary, touching the lives of anybody they encountered.
“They truly loved kids,” Lawler said. “I think they were wonderful educators, instilling personal relationships with students was their strength. They let them know they cared, and once a child knows that, there’s no limit to what you can do for them.”