A grand, golden life

by | June 29, 2017 4:04 pm

When retirement knocks on the door, most people see it as an eviction notice. They mull it over, discuss the idea with friends and family, pack up their belongings, and fly south to nicer views and warmer weather to spend their leisure years. Jim and Imogene Buckley, however, did things a little differently. In 1997, the two set out for Lake Oconee to spend their retirement. Fifteen years later, they moved back home. Throughout their years, they have colored a magnificent life, and it’s only getting prettier.
Jim is 86 now, and Imogene is 74. Looking back, they’ve accomplished a lot together in their 40-year marriage. Jim was born in Gurdon, Ark., while his wife is a native of nearby Soperton.
Jim’s extensive resume begins at Hendrix College, where he studied for one year before transferring to the University of Arkansas. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture and held the capacity of president of his Sigma Chi Fraternity, making the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities list in the process. He was a cadet colonel in the Air Force ROTC, and he went on to serve three years as a general in the United States Air Force before he returned to Houston, Tex., to begin his lengthy, prosperous career. He received his master’s degree in architecture from Rice University, then went to work with the firm of Bullock and Bullock. He moved to Swainsboro in 1962 to open a branch office, and he acquired the company’s Georgia assets six years later. In doing so, James W. Buckley & Associates was born.
Enter Imogene, who has quite a curriculum vitae of her own. Jim operated the business by his lonesome until 1970, at which point he paid Imogene a house visit and offered her a job at his company.
“We went to the same church and our kids knew each other,” Imogene said. “I told him I’d come by for an interview. I did, and I liked what was offered, so I went to work for him.”
Four years later, the two were wed. They remained business partners, running the local architectural firm as well as their other Georgia branches. In her time at Buckley & Associates, Imogene served as CFO and office manager.
In 1983, the Buckleys…

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