Nellie Juel Buckman


A Mass of Christian Burial for 91-year old Nellie Helen Juel Buckman is Tues, Feb 8, 2022 at 10:00 at the Sacred Heart Church in Pine Ridge, SD, with Father Brad Held, S.J., officiating.

Cremation will follow the services with burial at a later date.

Nellie Helen Juel Buckman was born on November 3, 1930 in Gordon, NE to Mary Charging and William “Bill” Nelson. Nellie passed away at home surrounded by her family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on Jan 30, 2022, on a beautiful warm Sunday afternoon.  

Nellie grew up in Pine Ridge, SD, Crawford, NE, and Alliance, NE.  She and her family traveled before she went off to boarding school at Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge, SD.  

Nellie had a very exciting existence in the life she had led.  Her many years of being a mother were preceded by the light of her childhood. At 11 years old, following her time in border school at Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge, she contracted Tuberculosis shortly after seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

While many children that had seen the Blessed Virgin passed on, Nellie went on to recover and returned to the boarding school. When she did, she was adopted by Father Frances DeMille of Boston, MA. At that time, he donated money to her and requested that she build a church in honor of the children.

She did and it is now called Our Lady of Lourdes in Porcupine, SD. This is where she spent most of her childhood when she was not at the boarding school, with many favorable memories with her adopted father. 

Her mother was not happy to have her daughter leave Pine Ridge and someday live in Boston, so her mother took her away and out of the boarding school.  

A lot of the records she later researched were lost or misplaced or never documented and no gratitude was given just a groundbreaking and still no records to this day of the church that she and her adopted Father Fr. Frances DeMille had donated. 

Throughout her life, she was dedicated to the Catholic Church and its teachings and that is how she raised her family; to always follow the word of God and to be kind to everyone.  

When she and her brothers left the boarding school, they lived out in the country at their grandmother’s and there she fell in love with riding and her horse, which she named Toby. 

Her brother Benjamín Skinner would tell the story of her riding and practicing in hopes to be the next Annie Oakley. She would ride sidesaddle and stand up on the horse’s back and shoot a rifle and hit her target. 

Benjamin said she was good for a little girl her size and spoke of how she was never afraid of anything.  He told of a time they needed money, so he made a bet with some police officers dressed in suits that his little sister could shoot a dime off a fence over 100 yards away.

They said “oh’ kid, we got to see this, you got a deal”. So he took them to the house and introduced his little sister Nellie (everyone at the time called her Sister) and told her to show the men.  She did – she shot the dime off the fence post over 100 yards away and that dime went flying and you could hear the piercing buzzing sound as it flew into the air. 

He said “yes, Sister made us groceries and rent for that month.” He then laughed and said “your mother was an amazing little girl.”   

Nellie and her mother and her four brothers hitchhiked everywhere to pick potatoes and harvest – wherever they could find the next job. She said she never minded it because it was the closeness of her family that was important and mattered. Besides, it was how people survived back then.  

Later in life Benjamin, met his new best friend, a very handsome bad boy named Vernon “Babe” Blackhorse-Buckman. He mentioned to Babe that his little sister Nellie never liked Babe because all the white girls in Crawford, NE, did.

She complained that Babe would show off for them on his motorcycle (1935 Indian) with his black leather jacket, black boots and white tee-shirt with rolled up sleeves and cigarettes tucked inside. 

Nellie would say “oh, that Babe Black Horse thinks he is everything – not for me.” The resistance was over, and she gave in, and the love story began.  

Nellie became Nellie Helen Juel Buckman, for she married her soul mate Vernon “Babe” Buckman on July 19, 1948. They stayed married and continued their love for each other for 51 beautiful years. 

They had eight children, then she had the love of her life trade in his motorcycle boots for work boots and sell the motorcycle for a new Chrysler for relocation – they chose California.  

They lived there for a few years but when Vern’s mother got sick, they moved back.  They then lived in various places before settling down in Pine Ridge as their permanent home to raise their children. 

Their love was tested by many obstacles throughout the years but the strength in family always held together for many beautiful times that never ended to this day…

Nellie is survived by her daughters, Rita Marie Buckman, Jolene Theresa Buckman-Clifford, & Patricia Louise Buckman, all of Pine Ridge, SD, and Vernell Susie Babe Buckman of Mandaree, ND/Pine Ridge, SD; adopted children, Anna Francis “Buff” White of Mandaree, ND, Wendellyn White of White Shield, ND, Pansy Goodall of New Town, ND, and Theodore “Ted” White of Mandaree, ND; 32 grandchildren; and 58 great-grandchildren; numerous great-great grandchildren; and special granddaughters that grandma raised on her own, April Flower Clifford, Melinda Jean Oldson, Erica Ann Buckman, McKenzie Jo Buckman, and Nellie Jo Oldson;

Nellie was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon “Babe” Buckman of 52 years; parents, Mary Louise Charging and William Bill Nelson; daughter, Cheryl Ann Buckman; sons, Lawrence Wendell Buckman, Oral Vernon Buckman, Clifford Billie Jo Buckman, and Eric Michael Buckman; siblings, Stanley Adams, Emery Charging, Dennis Mousseaux, Benjamin Skinner, Ida Belle Nelson-Amiotte, Henrietta Nelson, Mary Nelson-Cottier, Thomas N. Nelson, and Cleveland Vincent Nelson; grandchildren, Janelle Buckman and Angel Rose Buckman; great-grandson, Jeremiah Swift Hawk; and numerous nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. 

Pallbearers will be Charles “Tuna” Oldson, David “DR” Brewer, Charles Oldson, James Oldson, Dakota Big Crow, Jacob Standing Bear, Vernon Buckman, Frederick “Big R.” Bagola, Jr., Daryl Buckman, and Lawrence Buckman, Jr.

Honorary pallbearers will be All family & friends of the Pine Ridge Community and surrounding areas, including out of state family & friends.

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD