Thomas Lee Buckanaga
January 30, 2017
Thomas Lee Buckanaga
Jan. 18, 1963 - Jan. 11, 2017
Thomas L. Buckanaga, 53, formerly of Bemidji, MN, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 11 in Cape Coral, Fl. A celebration of Tom's life will be held Sunday, February 5th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at The Leech Lake Veteran's Memorial Grounds Building in Cass Lake, MN. Thomas Lee Buckanaga was born January 18, 1963, at Mahnomen Hospital, Mahnomen, MN to John and Donna Buckanaga. Thomas spent his youth living in Bemidji attended J.W. Smith Elementary, then Bemidji High School and graduated in the class of 1981. While in school Tom participated in baseball, wrestling, and football. After graduation from high school, Tom joined the United States Air Force as a Contract Specialist from 1983-1987. Tom worked at The Bureau of Indian Affairs where he was a self-determination officer/national facilitator P.L. 93-638, Indian Health Service as a Contract Specialist, Walker School District as a Native American Liason, OIC, Leech Lake Gaming as a Marketing Director, Shooting Star Casino Mahnomen as a Promotions Manager. Tom studied marketing and organizational management at both Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN and Concordia University, St.Paul, MN. Thomas was a proud Air Force Veteran and belonged to the White Earth Native American Veterans Group.
Tom had a great passion for music, self-taught to play the guitar and really any instrument he obtained...even a didgeridoo. He formed the band Damnest Thing. Tom was a thoughtful, kind, humorous, and very loving man who had a passion for many things in life including music. He had a knack for music facts, took pride in cooking, entertaining, grilling, pontooning, ice fishing/fishing, hunting, golfing, helping others, Vikings, the Beatles, manicuring the lawn, wordsmith, performing in plays such as JCS, his signature scent patchouli, and what everyone remembers him the most for....making them laugh. Tom moved away from Bemidji to explore Florida with friends in 2014.
Survivors include his mother Donna Buckanaga of Ponsford, MN, his siblings, John(Lisa), Michael(Amy), Juanita(Claire), Linda, and Anthony(Paul) Buckanaga, Daughters Ashley Uribe and Whitley LeCompte both of Aberdeen, SD, Maggie Buckanaga of Murfreesboro, TN, his grandchildren Locklyn, Maxwell, & Mila and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. Preceded in death by his son Jason M. Buckanaga, and his father John B. Buckanaga.