Walter F. Buckley, Professor of Sociology at UNH from 1971 to 1985, born in Lynn Mass., died at home in Durham, NH on January 27 at age 84. A Renaissance man, reading in related sciences, he was a pioneer in social systems theory and influenced social theory developments in sociology and the other social sciences, particularly in Europe (through his influence on Margaret Archer, Thomas Baumgartner, Tom R. Burns, Philippe Deville, and Felix Geyer, among others).

He was elected the honorary chair of the Research Committee on Sociocybernetics of the International Sociologal Association in August, 1998 in Montreal.

His three major contributions have challenged generally accepted views of our society and theories about it:
  • Sociology and Modern Systems Theory (1967);
  • Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist (1968, an anthology of readings); and
  • Society—A Complex Adaptive System (1998).

He was also a cool interpreter of early jazz when playing his tenor sax, performing at an occasion as late as August, 2005, in Durham, New Hampshire.

He leaves his wife, Cicely , of Durham; his daughter Helen Lamb, of Ames, Iowa; and his son, Mark William Buckley of Cambridge, MA.

And this from Wendell Berry, on ‘The Peace of Wild Things’, his family intended to share with him these very days:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Walter Buckley Memorial Award
Index, RC51