Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

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Madge Buckley

Madge
Buckley

Honored June 1995

Madge Buckley

Madge Buckley became involved in the greatest cause of her life for the saddest imaginable reason: the death of her son Kenneth Buckley at the tragically young age of 39.

Upon graduating from college, Kenneth told his parents that he was gay, and that he was moving to San Francisco to live in the large and active gay community there. But in that city he contracted AIDS, and he died of that disease in 1989.

Like most people of her generation, Madge knew very little about the gay lifestyle. But she was open-minded, and her love for her son never wavered. Kenneth gave her books to read, and she fully accepted him as he was. The AIDS epidemic began to ravage San Francisco some years after Kenneth moved there, and at that time it proved fatal to most of its victims. Watching friends and others become sick and die, Kenneth wanted to do all he could to help. He became a lay chaplain in his church, and worked with AIDS patients several nights a week. But he fell ill himself, and came home to Santa Fe to die.