Deborah Buckner, Blount Chamber business manager, dies suddenly

Deborah Angela (Hill) Buckner, business manager for the Blount Chamber Partnership, died at home in Friendsville early this week. She was 54 years old.

Andrew Buckner, son of Deborah and Bill Buckner, said his mother died early Tuesday morning.

“She passed away in her sleep about 12:30 last night,” Andrew said. “She had turned the TV off, and my dad went to the bathroom. When he came back, she wasn’t breathing hardly at all. He tried to wake her, and she wouldn’t wake up.”

Bill Buckner called 911 and administered CPR, said Andrew.

Andrew Buckner said Rural/Metro Ambulance Service transported her to Blount Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Andrew Buckner said his mother struggled with bad health for several years but always had a good attitude. “She was diabetic and had heart surgery about eight years ago. She was very active and had a very good spirit,” he said. “She went through lot of illness and always kept her faith. She was a wonderful mother.”

Bryan Daniels, interim president of the Blount Chamber Partnership, said Buckner worked at the Chamber for 18 years, and that she was a very kind and giving person. “She was always trying to make the person she was helping feel better about their situation. Through all her adversity with her health, she never complained,” Daniels said. “She was always a very positive and upbeat person.”

Daniels said Buckner was responsible for the financial and human resource operations for the Chamber. “She did her job with a caring personality,” he said.

Tammi Ford, vice president of the Blount Chamber Partnership, described Buckner as a wonderful co-worker and a great friend. “We’re all like family. You can imagine her family is in shock, and we’re in shock too. We just kind of went through the motions today.”

Ford said Buckner used the office next to hers for 18 years. “She was always good about asking about your family. We’re all close. I knew her kids when they were growing up. She has followed my son, Cole, since he was born. Even though she had health issues, this is certainly nothing we expected,” Ford said.

Deborah Buckner was an active member of Friendship Baptist Church for 26 years and was preceded in death by her father, J.B. Hill. Survivors include her husband of 32 years, Billy Buckner; son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Kristin Buckner of Maryville; daughter and son-in-law, Angela and Allan King of Walland; mother, Margie Hill of Maryville; brother, Jeffery Hill; sister, Opal Lawson; special nephew, Alex Hill; many nieces and nephews; mother-in-law, Billie Jean Buckner; special loved ones, Jean Borden and Leanne Graves and family.

Funeral services were at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 7, at Friendship Baptist Church with Dr. Scott Campbell and Rev. Robert Buckner officiating. Interment is at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 8, at Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Friendship Baptist Church Building Fund, 3310 Old Niles Ferry Road, Maryville, TN 37803 or American Diabetes Association, 211 Center Park Drive, Suite 3010, Knoxville, TN 37922.

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