ForeverMissed
It is with sadness that we announce that Craig Buckham, age 64, passed away February 13, 2021 from a hard-fought battle with lung cancer. Craig was physically active, mentally vibrant, engaged with friends, and captivated by news and sports until the end. 

Craig was an avid bird-watcher – always carrying binoculars in his front pocket, and often seen with his birding scope and/or camera, conversing with people who were curious as to what he was observing. Craig also enjoyed hiking, hunting, canoeing, fishing, camping, or just being outdoors. He was a veracious reader and enjoyed his daily foray into the newspapers, completion of crossword puzzles, and examining and discussing the news of the day.  

Born October 24,1956 in Idaho Falls, Idaho - Craig grew up as an avid outdoorsman in the Rocky Mountains. He earned his Physics degree at Colorado College in 1979, after which he moved to Seattle, starting his career in 1980 with Boeing Flight Controls.  There were many highlights during his 38-year career with Boeing including serving as the Designated Engineering Representative for FAA certification of software for the 777 program and being elected President of Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) from 1999-2004. Craig received a SPEEA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.  Craig also earned his wings as a Private Pilot. Being an enthusiastic sports connoisseur and devoted father, Craig enjoyed coaching his two boys’ teams in soccer and baseball for over 15 years.

Craig’s passing is deeply felt by his two children and their families, Brian and Gabby, and Zak and Chelsey; his two sisters, Judy and Peggy, six nieces and nephews, and the multitude of friends he made through the years.    

Remembrances may be made in Craig’s name to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Audubon Society, or Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Posted by Dan Murray on April 7, 2021
I had the pleasure to know Craig for many years and always appreciated his humor and expertise. He was an expert Flight Controls engineer when I first met him in 1984. As it turns out, he was part of the first basketball team I joined at Boeing; he could jump out of the gym, and dunk reverse-two-handed, and he was fast; but honestly that is about where his basketball skills ended; still it was fun playing with Craig. At work over the years, you could always wax philosophical with Craig, on whatever was the latest topic, and his insights were always interesting. Of course, as he transitioned to a career in Cabin and Network Systems, his expertise as an engineer translated. Rest in peace, Craig, we'll miss you!
Posted by Duane Cromwell on March 28, 2021
I will miss Craig and all his great qualities.
He was a coach, whether for sports, birds, financial stability or anything that could be done in an easier, smarter or better way. He cheered you on with gusto, hoping that you would follow all of his advice. He was seldom wrong and loved to debate for hours, thinking that he was always right. He loved the challenge! He was a family man, that would do anything that he could to make everyone happy and confidant. He was always on a quest for adventure and fun, no matter the rules and just hoped others would join in on the escapades. Craig was generous with his knowledge of the Boeing organization or birds or government. He wanted to make the world a better place. He was a true friend that I will miss.
Posted by Chris Royalty on March 20, 2021
I worked with Craig at Boeing off and on for many years. He was one of the most helpful and cheerful people I knew. His creativity was highly valued and he always seemed to have an answer for any problem that arose. My condolences to his family.
Posted by Robert Small on March 20, 2021
One time Craig and I took a 14ft aluminum boat with a leaky 1950’s outboard engine out on the Sound fishing. Barely made it back while leaving an oil slick in our wake, but we had a cooler full of fish. We were met on the dock by the Game Warden. He asked what we had in the cooler and we had to reply that we had no idea what we caught. The warden looked at all the fish and let us know they were all legal, but he recommended that we learn to identify fish before we go out again. He was also skeptical about the seaworthiness of the boat, but we had all the legal licenses and equipment. Never a dull moment with Craig!
Posted by Mary Beth LaDow on March 17, 2021
As these wonderful tributes attest, Craig had a way of being practical, wacky, insightful, and uplifting all at the same time.

He once gave me on some solemn occasion like college graduation two screwdrivers -- the yellow translucent kind with black rubber, the good kind -- and damn if I didn't use those screwdrivers for everything forever after, and thought of Craig every time.
A couple of years later he wanted to buy my old gray Audi Fox, which had been in an accident so that the glove compartment filled up with rain, which poured out when you opened it -- a definite liability in Seattle. Craig beamed. He loved it. I thought he might put ducks in there.
And just last week (before I knew) I was telling someone about Craig and how he predicted, at the height of late-'70s China-Syndrome anti-nuke hysteria, that we'd need nuclear power someday to solve our energy problems.

Craig and I lost touch, but his bright spirit was the kind that never leaves you. Rest well, old friend. You know that I still have those screwdrivers.

Posted by Keith Enevoldsen on March 16, 2021
Craig and I became friends at Colorado College, and we were friends ever since. I was Keith Nielsen back then, but I changed my name to Keith Enevoldsen after I married Julie Enevoldsen, whom I also first met at CC. One year, six of us were dorm suite mates: Craig, Norv, Ethan, Ron, Keith, Frank. Craig was interested in lots of subjects but eventually majored in physics, like me. Three of us (the Troika) teamed up to compete for the monthly mathematics "pizza problems" and we won some pizzas. Craig was also on a trivia bowl team with three of us. Craig was a lot of fun to be around. When crossing a street, he could hurdle the hood of a parked car rather than walking around it. With his long legs he could walk fast and pass me while I was jogging. While grocery shopping, Norv would grab items off the shelf and blindly lob them over his shoulder (even breakable items), trusting in Craig's agility to lunge and snag the items out of the air to place them safely in the shopping cart. A road trip with Craig in his Chevy Blazer was always an adventure. I tagged along with him on some hunting and fishing trips. Ron can tell the story of the road trip to Texas that landed the three of them in jail for the night. Or Julie can tell about the road trip in which we went to swim with the fishes at Balmorhea pool, and the fact that it was closed and fenced didn't stop us.

Craig and I both had careers at Boeing. We never worked in the same group, but our work-life paths would occasionally cross, which was always enjoyable. I, along with many thousands of other Boeing employees all over the country for many years, would often, sometimes daily, use Craig's remarkably convenient little "Dynamic Org Chart" app. Craig was the elected president of SPEAA, the Boeing engineers' union, during the 2000 strike, the country's largest white-collar strike. I was one of the software engineers on the picket line. He (like many of us) did not vote to strike, but when the membership did vote to strike, Craig was committed to helping make the strike be effective. Craig was well suited for the role of union president: he cared about people and fairness, he was level-headed and could see the issues from all viewpoints, and he knew how to interpret data so he could rationally balance alternative proposals.

My family (Julie and I, our children, and recently our grandchildren) saw Craig a couple times each year, at our winter solstice cookie parties or birthdays or outings for birding and/or star gazing. He joined us camping in Oregon for the total solar eclipse of 2017 -- he enjoyed the birds as much as the eclipse. He was always fun to talk to: he had lots of funny stories, lots of interesting ideas, and he always wanted to hear what everyone else wanted to tell. On birthdays he would ask the birthday celebrant what was the most significant thing that happened to them in the last year and what were they most looking forward to in the next year. It is a thoughtful question that brings out the best in people.
Posted by Ron Bush on March 15, 2021
I'm sorry to learn of Craig's passing, and my condolences to his family and friends. I'm not surprised, however, to learn of his successful career and his adventures (not to mention apparent hi-jinks along the way). Craig and I were hockey teammates in Idaho Falls for many years (he was a talented -- and smart -- wing on the line I centered for several of those years) and we had great fun. After we graduated we went our separate ways and I'd lost track of him. But, as I say, I'm not surprised by the full and rich life he led. I never did have the chance to tell him that I'd forgiven him for his prank of giving my name to the local Army recruiter. Those were good years growing up in Idaho Falls, with good memories.
Posted by Reg Reisenbichler on March 14, 2021
I'm so sorry to hear of Craig's passing. The "Tuesday birders" (including me) will miss him greatly. His enthusiasm was wonderful. I will think of him every time I break out the camera that he inspired me to buy.
Posted by Bill Anschuetz on March 13, 2021
Craig was always adventurous, supremely confident, highly entertaining and a dear friend to me.

My Craig story reaches back to our college ornithology field trip in the high desert. One afternoon our class came upon a roadrunner, and it was limping. Craig asserted that it would be easy for him to catch it given its handicap. In response to our professor's doubts, he bet him a Boston cream donut and sprinted across the arid plain. After brief curosity the roadrunner quickly sped away despite Craig's impressive dash across the desert (and he was a very fast runner). He lost the bet, but he aced the class.

We miss you, Craig. May you rest in peace.
Posted by Valerie Wade on March 13, 2021
I only knew Craig for the last two years of his life. We often birded together. His wit and wide range of knowledge on everything scientific, political, and otherwise was amazing. His raunchy jokes always caused acute attacks of belly laughs. His puns were Groaners, with a big smile. I will miss his help ID'ing birds and his sense of humor. I was also impressed by his lack of complaining about his illness. He was a doer, not a whiner. I will miss him.
Posted by Judy Lowell on March 13, 2021
I very much enjoyed my friendship with Craig. He was a wonderful friend, neighbor and fellow birding enthusiast. I will greatly miss our neighborhood walks, birding forays and political discussions. I am saddened by the loss of Craig but grateful for having known him.
Posted by Kevin Bremer on March 12, 2021
Too many good things to say about Craig, one of the easiest people to talk to and so smart. He did leave his legacy at Boeing, more than most people know. I went back and found his email auto signature, it was so true:

Craig A Buckham
Expert

You will be missed, rest in peace.
Kevin
Posted by Richard Osborne on March 12, 2021
I'd like to leave a little story about what I consider to be Craig's biggest accomplishment with the Boeing company. No it wasn't his years as the head of SPEEA or the many times he signed off on the safety of the airplane as a DER, it was his creation of what I consider the 'little app that could.'- Dynamic Org Chart. He first created it as a cabin systems engineer probably 20 years ago. Originally it was just one of those many projects we all did on the side. It allowed you to enter any person's name in the corporation, (world wide) and up would pop up a complete org chart for the person. It was amazingly intuitive and allowed you to move vertically or horizontally through any organization to find anyone. You could also check their various department or HR IDs, emails, phone, just all the data that defines who you are in the Boeing company. it was just simple and easy to work. Well that little app he wrote quickly became very popular. He didn't even realize it until he started getting complaints from people he didn't know about it not working in the evenings, (at the bottom of the page was a little note stating that he was the owner.) Well yea, it was resident on his computer and when he turned his computer off in the evening it wasn't accessible. He was surprised at how popular this little app had become and got it loaded onto a server accessible 24/7. For years this was the go to way to figure out who anyone in the corporation was and how they were related organizationally. Eventually Boeing IT made their own org chart app and tried to basically have his home made app disallowed. Yea, that didn't work. The 'official' app was a mess, it looked like it was developed by a committee. Hard to use and clunky, IT finally allowed his little app to live but he had to give up ownership and transfer it to the IT org. Fair enough, but over the years whenever something went wrong or it didn't work quite right I would call him up directly and tell him what the problem was, he was always super generous and would work directly with IT to get it fixed. I really don't know if the app is still being used in the couple of years since I've retired. I can honestly say that in my near two decades as a Boeing manager that I used that little app almost every day.
Craig and I both retired at the same time, in the last couple of years when I was thinking about retirement I would constantly consult with him about financial issues. How to determine how much money I needed, what I should do about pension vs lump sum buyout, things like that. He would send me little programs to enter my information to try out different economic scenarios to decide what would work best for me. I actually passed on some of those same macros he wrote to other employees nearing retirement so they could model their own situations. Craig was my financial retirement guru and he made the whole process so much easier.
I took Craig salmon fishing after we both retired. A promise I had made to him. He knew how to handle a rod and we caught our limit. What was just as fun though was how he'd make comments about various birds that we'd see. How to tell which of various gulls species were flying by, what species was likely to show up next month.  Just random comments that to a non birder like myself I found honestly funny.
Craig was a passionate person, it showed up as much in his work as his hobbies. 
He'll be missed

Rich
Posted by Ritch Triplett on March 11, 2021
Craig always provided humor and calming words when ever needed. His years of experience at Boeing provided great insight for people new or old even during his struggle with his health. You’re smile is now is giving others something to share Craig. God bless.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Dan Murray on April 7, 2021
I had the pleasure to know Craig for many years and always appreciated his humor and expertise. He was an expert Flight Controls engineer when I first met him in 1984. As it turns out, he was part of the first basketball team I joined at Boeing; he could jump out of the gym, and dunk reverse-two-handed, and he was fast; but honestly that is about where his basketball skills ended; still it was fun playing with Craig. At work over the years, you could always wax philosophical with Craig, on whatever was the latest topic, and his insights were always interesting. Of course, as he transitioned to a career in Cabin and Network Systems, his expertise as an engineer translated. Rest in peace, Craig, we'll miss you!
Posted by Duane Cromwell on March 28, 2021
I will miss Craig and all his great qualities.
He was a coach, whether for sports, birds, financial stability or anything that could be done in an easier, smarter or better way. He cheered you on with gusto, hoping that you would follow all of his advice. He was seldom wrong and loved to debate for hours, thinking that he was always right. He loved the challenge! He was a family man, that would do anything that he could to make everyone happy and confidant. He was always on a quest for adventure and fun, no matter the rules and just hoped others would join in on the escapades. Craig was generous with his knowledge of the Boeing organization or birds or government. He wanted to make the world a better place. He was a true friend that I will miss.
Posted by Chris Royalty on March 20, 2021
I worked with Craig at Boeing off and on for many years. He was one of the most helpful and cheerful people I knew. His creativity was highly valued and he always seemed to have an answer for any problem that arose. My condolences to his family.
Recent stories
Shared by Rob Matson on March 21, 2021
I was saddened to hear of the passing of my old friend Craig Buckham, and have been flooded with memories of good times we shared as classmates in elementary school and junior high.  I remember Craig as an intelligent, respectful person with a great sense of humor and an inquisitive nature.  And I'm gratified (but not surprised) to know that he had a positive impact on so many people over the coarse of his professional and personal life.
One of my fondest memories is of hearing the Beatles' "Abbey Road" record for the first time on his father's new state-of-the-art headphones in the family room of their home.  It was definitely a revelation to me.
We were also bandmates in the newest musical sensation of 1968 on the Idaho Falls music scene:  "The Chestnuts" (photo attached - Craig on the far left).  We figured we were destined for stardom....
Craig and I had reconnected in recent years via Facebook.  I was always happy to see his wonderful photographs of the birds he loved watching so much.  My heartfelt condolences to all of Craig's family and friends.  Rest in peace, my friend.