Sally Beaver Buckner

November 3, 1931January 7, 2018

Sally Beaver Buckner, 86, died at Glenaire Retirement Community in Cary, on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Sally was born in Statesville, NC on November 3, 1931. She was raised in Albemarle and, after graduating from high school, attended Women's College (now UNC-Greensboro). In college, she served as editor of the student paper and landed an interview with Eleanor Roosevelt. After graduating with a BA in English in 1953, she married Robert Buckner and they started a family in Fayetteville.

She and her family moved to Raleigh in 1965, where she worked for the Raleigh Times and taught at NC State University before joining the English faculty at Peace College. Sally continued her education, gaining an MA in English at NC State University in 1970 and a PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1980.

In addition to teaching, she served as co-director of the Capital Area Writing Project, chair of the NC Writers' Conference, served on the board of directors of the NC Autism Society, President of the NC English Teachers' Association, and a member of the NC Literature and History Society, NC Writers Network, NC Poetry Society, and the NC Literature Hall of Fame selection committee.

Sally published two anthologies of North Carolina literature, Our Words, Our Ways: Reading and Writing in North Carolina (1991), and Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry (1999). She also authored collections of her own poetry, including Strawberry Harvest (1986), Collateral Damage (2008), and Nineteen Visions of Christmas (2011).

She received first place awards for her poetry in the Windhover and Crucible publications. Other recognition includes the Ragan-Rubin Award, the R. Hunt Parker Award, the Sam Ragan Award, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission Medal of Arts Award, the Wake County YWCA Academy of Women Arts Award, and the NC Teachers Association.

In 2016, Sally was awarded the distinguished Order of the Long Leaf Pine from the State of North Carolina. In 2017, she was recognized at William Peace University for her years of service with an honorary doctorate.

Sally enjoyed travel, camping, music, and going to productions by local theatres and the symphony. She was a passionate advocate for social justice and served on the Peace and Justice Committee at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. After September 11, 2001, she and her husband opened their home to the local Triangle Tikkun chapter to encourage dialogue and deeper understanding between faiths.

She is survived by her brother and his wife, Gerald and Carolyn Beaver, of Fayetteville, her daughter, Sally Lynn Buckner, her son and daughter-in-law, Ted and Serena Buckner, grandsons Dane and Graham Buckner, granddaughter-in-law Kelly Buckner, and great grandchildren Cora Buckner and Tanner Dunn, all from Raleigh. Sally was preceded in death by her son, George Buckner, and her husband, Robert Buckner.

A service celebrating the life of Sally will be held at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, at 1801 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, on Friday, January 19, at 1:00 pm, followed by a reception at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Pullen Memorial Baptist Church or The Autism Society of NC at 5121 Kingdom Way, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.


  • Memorial Service with reception to follow at the church Friday, January 19, 2018

Sally Beaver Buckner

have a memory or condolence to add?


January 25, 2018

Sally was such a sweet, dear lady and a delightful presence who drifted into my life on various occasions. Years ago we were in a writers group together. For a time we may have overlapped at NCSU, and I certainly enjoyed reading her poetry and other thoughtful pieces through the years.

Sincere condolences to the family of this remarkable lady.

Jeanne J. Smoot, Professor Emerita
NCSU English Department

mara evans

January 17, 2018

This world will forever be a better place because Sally and Bob Buckner were here.

Fern Ragan

January 15, 2018

I met Sally through my minister, The Reverend Paul Lowder. He wanted us to meet because we both taught English, and Paul saw so many similar traits in us that he thought we would become great friends, and we did. For years we discussed the opinion articles in the New York Times every midday--after we had each had time to read them. We recommended novels to each other and discussed poetry we enjoyed. I was an e-mail friend for years before I actually met Sally in person. My great friends Duane and Gloria Best moved to Glenaire, and during my first visit, whose name should I see on a door in their hall but Sally's! Gloria took me to her room, and what a delightful morning we spent together. It is nice to have a soul mate who understands your thoughts, your ideas, and has the same appreciation for the literary world that you do. I found that in Sally. We both had made teaching English our life-long careers, and she brought joy and delightful communication to many of my days. What a brilliant friend and true lady she was. I am glad our paths crossed in this life.

Fern Ragan

January 15, 2018

Debra Kaufman

January 15, 2018

Sally was a beloved teacher and a true champion of poets and poetry in our state. She was kind and respectful and fierce. So many miss her and have been influenced by her. My sincere sympathy goes out to her family, former students, and friends.

S. Westbrook

January 12, 2018

Sally Buckner was my English instructor at NC State during my first semester there in 1969. She taught her class as if we were each destined to be writers, even though most of us were far from it. She gave me an appreciation of the language and literature that would have been diminished had I not been in her section. She was just beginning her career then, but she was already making a lasting impression on her students.

Cyndi Robinson

January 12, 2018

This woman was so instrumental in helping me find my "writing voice" at Peace College. Words fail me now as I learn of her passing. May God grant her family and close friends peace and comfort at this sad time.

Barbara Palmour

January 12, 2018

Sally was our neighbor on Wade Avenue in the mid-sixties and our families remained dear friends long after both moved from that street. We Palmours have such fond memories of many happy times spent with the Buckners, both at their home and ours over the years. My mother Barbara considers Sally a very close and treasured friend. Sally was a remarkable and talented person, balancing her varied roles (parent, writer, teacher, advocate... to name a few) so gracefully and effectively. She will be greatly missed but will live on in the myriad positive ways she touched the lives of so many. Our hearts go out to the Buckner family and all who grieve her loss. Sincerely, June Palmour Trevor and Barbara Palmour on behalf of the Palmour family

Cyndi Bailey Morgan

January 12, 2018

I was blessed by fate to have her as my English teacher at Peace College in 1970-1972 and she continued to inspire me with her kindness, positive attitude, joy of life. She was a light, a flame, that will not be put out as she will live in our memory and hearts forever. Visiting her was a highlight for me. She made me feel loved and welcomed.

Marlene Clegg

January 11, 2018

Sally was my freshman English professor at Peace College in 1980. What a wonderful teacher, writer and friend. I was honored to have known her.