Neil L. Buckley

July 30, 1939 ~ August 16, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old


Neil L. Buckley, Retired Malden Police Chief, age 84, of Wilmington, formerly of Malden, passed away on August 16, 2023. 

Neil was born on July 30, 1939, in Malden, MA; he was the cherished son of the late Cornelius H. and Eleanor M. (Miller) Buckley.  Neil was raised and educated in Malden.

Neil met “the love of his life” Lillian (Principato) Buckley at a Church Youth Organization while they were both in high school; it was “love at first sight” and the couple enjoyed over forty-one years of marriage before Lillian’s passing in 2004.

Neil and Lillian lived in Malden for several years before settling in Wilmington in 1975, where they raised their three children, Patty, Michael, and Karin.  Neil and Lillian provided a warm and loving home for their children and family.  Christmas Day was a big tradition in the Buckley home; they hosted over forty people each year, where everyone had a great time and lots of memories were made.

Neil started his long police career at the Malden Police Department following in his father’s footsteps.  The Buckley family, including two uncles, served on the Police and Fire Departments and Neil was fortunate enough to be able to work with his family.  He started as a Patrolman and with hard work and dedication to his job, he worked his way up the ranks, retiring as the Chief.  Neil was very proud of his service to the City of Malden; he loved being part of the community by helping the citizens and enjoyed working with his fellow policemen. 

Although Neil was proud of his distinguished career, he was even more proud of the family he and Lillian created.  Neil was a devoted husband; he and Lillian loved to spend time together at their lake houses.  They enjoyed nature, especially boating and water sports.  The couple loved to travel; they took several cruises including a memorable cruise to Alaska.

Neil and Lillian had a real sense of community; not only did they both work as public servants, but they also volunteered their time to make their community of Wilmington a better place.  Neil served on the Planning Board in Wilmington for many years and volunteered at the Sons of Italy.  Neil and Lillian enjoyed the fundraising events and the many friends they met through the group.

Neil served on the Army National Guard for many years; he was able to play the trumpet and the French horn in the Army band.  In his younger years, he also played the instruments for a band in the North End.  He loved music, especially marching music and often played it while enjoying time with his family and friends.

Neil was the beloved husband of 41 years of the late Lillian M. (Principato) Buckley, devoted father of Patricia B. Hersey & her husband Jonathan of Newburyport, Michael J. Buckley & his wife Hasna of Venice Beach, FL, and Karin Kennedy of Wilmington, loving “Pa” of Erin and Patrick Filetti, Nolan, Ethan, and Kiera Kennedy, Lillian Buckley, and Dan and Sarah Hersey, cherished son of the late Cornelius H. and Eleanor M. (Miller) Buckley, dear brother of Kathleen Lane & her late husband Timothy Lane, Jr. of Melrose, formerly of Andover, Donald Buckley & his wife Eileen of Franklin and the late Robert Buckley, brother-in-law of John Principato of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the late Marilyn Himmelsbach and the late Jeanne Shattuck.  Neil is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and friends.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Thursday, August 24th at 9:00 a.m. immediately followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m.  Interment to follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday, August 23rd from 4:00 -8:00 p.m.

Memorial donations in Neil’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham, MA  02452.

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August 23, 2023

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Nichols Funeral Home
187 Middlesex Ave
Wilmington, MA 01887

Funeral Mass
August 24, 2023

10:00 AM
St. Thomas of Villanova Church
126 Middlesex Avenue
Wilmington, MA 01887


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