Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Buck Willoughby, 1934-2009

Briggs N. “Buck” Willoughby, Maj. USMC (Ret) 1934-2009
Survived by his loving wife, Judy, daughter Cheryl (Robert Wolotira) and Julie (Karen Blejwas), son Briggs (Tina Perkins) and 3 grandchildren, Alena, Adam and Max. Son of Bernard and Myrtle.
Briggs’ early years were spent in Colorado. He left to join the Navy where he quickly rose to become a Marine Corps officer and pilot by the age of 21. Following his active duty career, he received a degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado.
Upon graduation he went to work for NASA as a mission controller for the Apollo program and was integral in the success of the moon landings. Briggs and his family later moved to Alaska where he had a successful career with the FAA.
Briggs had a passion for the outdoors, which he passed to his children. He had a special love for the sea and spent much of his happy retirement years with his wife on their boat. He was also a devoted family man and a generous member of his community, being deeply involved in the Lions Club, Oak Harbor Yacht club and other community organizations for many years.
A celebration of the grand adventure that was Briggs’ life will be held at the family home this Sunday, September 13 from 2-5 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or a chosen charity.


  1. Vivian and I were very sorry to hear of our friend "Buck's" passing. Our adventure with Buck began on the docks of the Seward Small boat harbor and the waters of Resurrection Bay. We enjoyed the company of both Buck and Judy watching the Northern Lights, cruise ships coming and going and on anchor in Thumb Cove. A particular day had us rafting together with several other boats getting ready to enjoy the day, when I went forward to our bow to tie off. I slipped and "plunk" into the water I went. I didn't have time to yell out for help but I did look up and saw Buck there ready to help. That was Buck, there to help. We will miss Buck and wish his family the best in the years to come.

    With Condolences:

    John and Vivian Kito

  2. This week reminded to appreciate the blessings we enjoy and the wonderful people that surround us, though now spread over the entire country. When I was younger (I guess 30+ years ago...), I didn't hang out w/the older folks so much so I never really got to know him until Domica & moved back to Whidbey Island. It was nice to have family in my same town, and helped me get to know this branch of the tree (though the 'acorns' had long moved away). We really enjoyed spending time with 'em on their boat or enjoying a nice dinner and listening to jets go by. They'd tell me rumors or guess at things going on with the base, and I'd explain what I knew. The flying experiences were a nice common thread for Buck & I, but I enjoyed listening to his opinion and knowledge on many things. Domica enjiyed his gentle manner as well, especially with Francesca who was very small at the time. He loved to read to her or show a new toy from the 'box' & I remember on many occasions driving away & Domica saying "what a neat man" he was. Uncle Buck was special and I am better for his influences and am sad for him to go. Thanks for starting this page!

  3. I watched the TV series "Timeless" 28 Nov 2016 and was reminded of my time in Alaska in the early 1980s, when Buck was my boss in Anchorage ARTCC. I didn't find out about his time as a pilot or with NASA until I read his obituary. He was very good to work with, during 'interesting times' - in the sense of the Chinese curse, 'May you live in interesting times.' The TV episode of 'Timeless' featured another computer whiz, Katherine Johnson, who I am sure worked with Buck on the Apollo missions.