At 89 years old, I lived a long life, longer than anyone else in my family, leaving this world on July 12, 2022. I was born to Beverly and Francis Bucalos and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. While I didn’t have any siblings, I spent a lot of time with family who lived near me. After graduating high school, I enlisted in the Army in 1953 and served in Korea with the 65th Brigade Engineer Battalion until discharge in 1955. After returning home, I married Ruth (Purdy), raised a family in North Babylon, NY and helped care for many foster children throughout the years I worked as a technician for New York Telephone Company.
While I enjoyed my job and the friendships I made with my fellow technicians, my summers were a special time for reconnecting with family. I used my vacation time to take my family on trips to go camping from Canada to Florida and from the Atlantic seashore to the Adirondack Mountains. It was a time to sit together around a campfire in the evening, disconnected from the distractions of everyday life and to take time to enjoy each other’s company.
In 1978, I transferred to Florida to work for Bell South. After retiring from the telephone company, I worked for Motorola Corporation in Plantation, Florida, installing their telecommunications network throughout the facility. But I also took time to travel with Ruth before her passing 1996. We enjoyed cruises to the Caribbean and family reunions. We gathered to celebrate birthdays and births, marriages and retirements and the holidays, the milestones that mark the important moments in our lives.
Although I never remarried, I spent my days enjoying time with the many family members and friends who lived in and around Plantation, FL. Family was the heart and soul of my life. In my later years, I was looked after and loved by my daughter, Kathy Bucalos Wheeler (Scott) of Land O’ Lakes, FL; son Michael Bucalos (Claire) of Raleigh, NC; and son Frederick Bucalos (Holly) of Sidney, NY; Fran Pearsall and Davie Roberts of Kershaw, SC; my brother-in-law Stephen Purdy and his wife Alice of Plantation, FL; my granddaughter Heather Bucalos of Sidney, NY; and my grandsons Jordan Wheeler (Katie) of Milwaukee, WI and Lucas Wheeler of Land O’ Lakes, FL.
As the challenges of old age entered my life, so did my dear friend and caregiver Mr. Lekkie Wilson. Every day began and ended with the sound of his voice and his helping hand. Rare is a friend like Mr. Wilson and rarer still the privilege of being considered a part of his family and he and his wife a part of mine. You stayed with me until I left this life and I am eternally grateful for you and your family.
Let me leave you with the thought that a long life lived well is a gift. Give the gifts of love and laughter, joy and celebration to others in your life. They are gifts that you can take with you and leave behind at the same time.
Instead of flowers, consider giving a gift to a charity of your choice or just do an unexpected act of kindness for someone else.
Until we meet again,
J. Fred Bucalos