On this past July 23, my brother-in-law John Buddenhagen died of cancer after an extremely painful final month of illness in the hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. He'd lived in Alaska for about twenty four years. My husband Jim spent that month with him as did his children and his ex-wife who remained a loyal friend. Their presence and love mitigated, we hope, some of his suffering.
John spent time with us every winter we've lived in Mexico. Many of the places we've gone, he came with us, and his presence will continue to accompany us to these places as long as we are here. John taught me a lot about love and patience and decency. He wasn't famous or rich or powerful. He was a quiet man whose life deserves to be remembered and honored. Below is his obituary as it appeared in The Anchorage Daily News. Jim wrote it.
John M. Buddenhagen, retired immigration inspector of Anchorage, passed away Saturday July 23, 2011 at the age of 69. The cause of death was cancer which ultimately took his life at the St. Elias Specialty Hospital in Anchorage. John was born February 10, 1942 in Los Angeles, California and lived in various places including Montana, Colorado, the Netherlands and Oregon where he graduated from Grants Pass High School in 1959. He received a BA degree in Geography from the University of Oregon in 1964.
John served two years in the Peace Corps in Panama where he did community development work and mastered Spanish. He worked most of his adult life for the US Immigration & Naturalization Services, in El Centro, CA, Albuquerque, NM, El Paso, TX, and since 1987 in Alaska, including Port Alcan, Dutch Harbor, and Anchorage, where he has resided since 1991. Special assignments took him to various foreign countries including Italy, Thailand, Japan, and Cuba.
John had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, a love of nature, mountains, lakes and streams. He loved to travel and tried to learn as much as he could about every place he went, history, archeology, geology, and politics. He enjoyed photography, hiking, maps and visiting friends and family. Family remembers him as family oriented, a good father, intelligent, kind, honest, polite, thoughtful, generous, and a strong and independent person. He loved dogs and was an Iditarod volunteer. He will be missed immensely.
The services will be at the family cemetery on the family farm 10 miles south of Grants Pass, Oregon, on August 13, 2011.
John was preceded in death by his father Harold J. Buddenhagen and his mother Pearl Marie Masteller, and is survived by his son Eric Buddenhagen of Alubquerque, NM, two daughters Linda Kehoe of Bernalillo, NM and Dolly J. Thomas of Harrisburg, SD; by his sister Barbara Winkelstein of San Francisco, CA, his brothers Ivan Buddenhagen of Davis Californnia, and James Buddenhagen of Xico, Ver. Mexico, and by his dog Duchess, his faithful companion for these last 12 years.