Duane Buckley was a graduate of the University of Illinois in 1939 with a degree in engineering. After serving in the Army Air Corps as a B-24 pilot, he returned to Wichita where he would become president of Buckley Industries, an established family business for more than 120 years. Originally founded in 1888 as a sheet metal and slate tile roofing company, it was one of the original contractors in the construction of Fiske Hall in 1906.
A lifelong learner, he and his wife, Janet, took continuing education courses at Wichita State University, and audited classes within the fine arts program.
Former president for the Kansas Society for Crippled Children, he also chaired the United Way Campaign, and served on numerous boards including the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce and Exploration Place.
Janet Buckley grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the Depression. After her father died, she moved with her mother and sister to Columbus, Ohio, working part time as a secretary while attending Ohio State University. During World War II, she met Duane while working as an airline stewardess. They were married 56 years.
When Mr. Buckley passed away in 2000, his wife and family honored his memory with the Duane J. Buckley Endowed Scholarship in general education. Mrs. Buckley continued attending classes at WSU as recently as the spring of 2006 when she enrolled in a history class. Her three sons established a fund in her name in 2005, which was combined with the Duane J. Buckley Scholarship.