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American Patriotic 10


Irvin "Buck" Ingram, Jr.

June 27, 1923 ~ January 7, 2019 (age 95)

Early in December, he knocked on the door of his neighbor, Harry.  “Can I borrow a ladder?”  “Sure, Buck.  Let me get it for you.”  Harry went to the garage and found the ladder, bringing it out through the garage to the driveway.  Buck thanked him, but, instead of heading home across the street, he leaned the ladder up against Harry’s house, climbed up, and began unscrewing the carefully strung red Christmas lights lining the gutter.  As Harry looked up, bemused, Buck tossed an offhand, “I needed a couple of replacement bulbs.” 

“Buck” Irvin Ingram, Jr., entered the world in Caney, Oklahoma, on June 27, 1923 and exited on January 7, 2019, in Enumclaw, Washington.  The second of six children born to Irvin Senior and Ida, “June Bug” was predeceased by his parents, and brothers Marlin and Bob.  He is survived by his brother Dan and sisters Loetta and Karen.   After finishing high school and eager to leave the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma, Buck set out for sunny California.  Shortly after, he really set sail with the US Navy, where he served in the western Pacific during World War II.  Life in the Navy was never boring, and the stories about the origin of the Buck nickname varied, as did the use of another nickname, Johnny, reserved for the ladies.  After the war ended, Buck stepped ashore in Bremerton and made his way inland to Enumclaw for a job, where he was promptly charmed by the cutie, Kathleen Van Hoof, who made him forget he’d ever been called Johnny.  He went to work for Weyerhauser and stayed there for 36 years, eventually becoming Superintendent of the White River and Snoqualmie mills before he retired in 1982. 

On the home front, Buck married Kathleen in September 1946, raised three children—Steve, Toni, and Jennifer—and pulled off many other practical jokes.  He and Kathleen cut a rug in their younger days in the South Puget Sound area, dancing and mixing with friends and celebrities alike, such as their pal, Buck Owens.  They traveled to Europe and Mexico, Hawaii, and most of the 50 United States, including a memorable motorhome trip with Marlin and his wife Wilma.  Later, golf became a passion, and in typical Buck fashion he participated in tournaments across the country and eventually hung a Hole-in-One plaque on his family room wall.  During repeated snowbird trips to Ojai and Hemet, CA, he and Kathleen became such a part of the family where they stayed that they ran the switch board on occasion for the owners of the motel. 

Although the boy left Oklahoma, Oklahoma never left the boy.  Buck loved corn bread and buttermilk, his Stetson, and country music.  He spoke slowly, often building up to a subtle, but wickedly funny joke.  With a twinkle in his eye, he loved teasing nobody more than Kathleen.  In one of his more enduring jokes, he convinced the male members of the Ingram family to grow generous 1970s mustaches for Steve’s wedding.  The whole group showed up in California looking like Burt Reynolds stand-ins, recorded in the wedding photos for posterity.   

Buck, when he wasn’t borrowing Christmas lights, was a fine neighbor.  His meticulously kept lawn, spotless and flawlessly maintained cars, and perfect fence were sources of particular pride.  He befriended the squirrels who frequented his patio.  He liked to dress well (and kept his hair combed just right, too), according to the fashion of the time, although he may have received some help to maintain that style.  When Buck discharged from the Navy, he used his clothing fund to replace his blue service attire with another wardrobe of nearly all blue clothes—two blue shirts, two blue pants, blue socks, blue tie, and a blue jacket.  With Kathleen, Buck opened his eyes to the whole spectrum of clothing colors.

Buck quietly became a Catholic in 1984, surprising his children, who had known him as a reluctant Presbyterian and former Southern Baptist.  Although he never spoke at length about the depth of feeling that led to his conversion, his actions spoke louder than words.  For many years, Buck served as an usher and in other roles at Sacred Heart Parish in Enumclaw.  He also found time to give back through the Veterans of Foreign Wars, where he served in the color guard and as a lifetime member.  In 2015, Buck’s family, friends, and fellow vets honored his service in the Navy and VFW with a Quilt of Valor.  The ceremony was held at his favorite place, the Longhorn Barbeque in Auburn. 

Buck, who came to be known within his family as Grandad, then Grandude, and eventually Papa Buck, was a man with a huge heart and a great appetite for food, fun, and laughs.  He loved the Shorthorn burger; coconut, chocolate, and peanut butter, in all combinations of ice cream, pies, cookies, and cakes; and iced tea with two sweetener packets.  He loved to be in the midst of a crowd of laughter, wisecracking jokes, and telling stories.  His family, Kathleen, Steve, Toni, and Jennifer, their spouses, eight grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and host of other in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends will miss his generous nature, loving heart, and quick wit.  If you have a chance, grab a Shorthorn and tell a joke in his memory.

Services will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Enumclaw. The Rosary begins at 10:00 a.m., followed by a viewing; Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m., followed by a reception in the parish hall. Graveside services with military honors will take place at Enumclaw Evergreen Memorial Park at 2:00 p.m.

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