Nature 36

Mark Buckingham

August 14, 1945 ~ September 11, 2020 (age 75)


Mark Gregory Buckingham passed away peacefully September 11, 2020, at home in Enumclaw, surrounded by family and friends after a long battle with metastatic prostate cancer and inflammatory cerebral amyloid angiopathy.  Born in 1945 in Seattle to Ward and Doris Buckingham, the family soon moved to England where he attended Papplewick Boarding School while his father flew for Pan Am Airlines. While still in grade school the family returned to the US. Some of Mark’s favorite childhood memories included the times he spent with his brothers at the family cabin in Bitterroot Lake, Montana, and skiing Crystal Mountain.  Mark graduated from Highline High school where he led the boys’ gymnastics team to a state championship. He continued his gymnastics career at the University of Washington where he was a four-year letterman and placed fifth in the NCAA championships. Although his desire was to become a pilot, he complied with his family’s wishes to first obtain a college degree. After graduating with a degree in geography and German, he began teaching history and coaching gymnastics at Issaquah High School. In 1971, Mark decided to follow his dream to be a pilot and moved to Germany where he completed his final flight lessons in German and towed targets for NATO.  In 1972 he returned to the US and began teaching history and coaching gymnastics at Cedar Heights Junior High while he built a home in Port Orchard.  After this brief teaching stint Mark returned once again to flying. During his prestigious career he was a pilot for Columbia Pacific, Cascade, PSA and US Airways and lived in Lewiston, ID, Des Moines, and Enumclaw, where he restored/built each of his homes in his free time. In retirement, Mark was able to realize another dream with his Mount Rainier Nobles Christmas Tree Farm.  During his illness, his final goal was to restore his 356 Porsche Roadster which he affectionately named “Bettina”. He took great pride showing off his labor of love to fellow car enthusiasts. Mark was an active member in his community, Wabash Church, and sang in the men’s choir. He was a kindhearted, charismatic person who made friends everywhere he went. His main love was his family, wife, kids, and grandchildren.  

Mark was preceded in death by his brother, Trooper Michael Buckingham.  He is survived by his wife, Lorraine; daughters, Heather Libman (Warren) and Brittany; son, David; stepdaughters, Nicole Vela (Phil Giammarino), Michelle Vela-Murphy (Dan), and Alisha Medina (Jarrod); and his brother, Ward (Cherie). He is also survived by his seven grandchildren: Taylor, Ethan, Raquel, Rumi, Roy, Sophia, and Evan; and many nieces and nephews.

He was a beam of sunshine in this life and his memories will bring light into our lives forever.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Heaven, Mark.

A celebration of Mark’s life will be held at a later date due to Covid.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance or the Museum of Flight.

Please share a memory of Mark with his family on the tribute wall.

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