An Opportunity to be Better - Biographies

Joe Buckles

Minister Joseph "Joe" A. Buckles was the son of Joseph Buckles and his second wife Emma Eldora Scott. Buckles was born in 1928 in Kansas City, Kansas, where his father was a general physician. The family moved frequently. His mother died when he was about two years old.

Buckles, his sister Jane and his father moved first to Sumner County, Kansas and later to the small village of Thayer, Kansas, 130 miles southwest of Kansas City. By the time Buckles was 15, he was an ordained minister and attending Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. His field of study was religion and international relations. He was also involved in debate. He graduated from Southwestern at age 19, while also serving as the assistant minister at the local Methodist church.

Buckles as a student at Southwestern College.

It was while at Southwestern that he met Winfield native and fellow Southwestern student Theressa Knapp. She would become his wife. After additional schooling in Illinois, the couple moved to his first church in Morganville, Kansas. His outlook and interests were a good match in helping the community continue with the sister city project after the departure of his predecessor Henry Millikan.

Joe and Theressa had two children, Sandy, born before the move, and Joe III, born while the family was posted in Morganville.

After a few years in Morganville, he moved on to churches in Minneapolis and Wichita, Kansas and then on to the Chicago area, where he became active in the Civil Rights movement. He traveled to Mississippi and, on one occasion, was jailed for attempting to attend a whites-only church accompanied by Blacks.

Buckles later decided he would like to return to a smaller church. In 1991, he accepted a position in Plainfield, Illinois where he remained until his death in 1994. He and Theressa are both buried in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.