Joe Buker was born in Love, Saskatchewan to Florence and Fred Buker. He spent his early years growing up there. Later they moved to Prince Albert National Park for his dad's work. He loved it there in Waskiesu and eventually became a park warden after graduation from Lakeland College. Before starting his work career Joe travelled to Europe to see the world. After working as a seasonal park warden for several years he yearned to try something new and took a job in Nahanni. A chance meeting in Edmonton before going up to Nahanni Joe met his future wife, Linda Sanford.
Nahanni is a spectacular park with beauty and isolation. Joe enjoyed river trips, stays at Rabbit Kettle hot springs, the village and Father Mary and home base at Nahanni Butte making many friendships. Joe’s first permanent position, where Linda joined him, was in Wood Buffalo National Park. After spending several years there, he wanted to work in the mountains and was able to secure a position in Jasper at Sunwapta and later Snaring. The job was interesting and varied, public safety, avalanche control, boundary patrols on the south boundary, bear management and law enforcement. Joe loved this work and made many friends. In 1988 a promotion to Prairie & Northern Region led Joe and Linda to their new life stationed in Winnipeg. Lake of the Woods became a weekend destination for Joe and his newly acquired sailboat. His other hobbies and pastimes were woodworking, carving, motorcycle riding and hanging out with friends and co-workers. Joe always had a ready smile.
Joe’s love of travel led him to many parts of the Caribbean. The wildlife service provided Joe a job highlight when he witnessed the release of Snow Leopards to their new home at the zoo. 911 afforded the opportunity to work for transport as an inspector. Joe made many friends there and saw much of Canada’s north.
Joe retired in 2011 and pursued a move to Comox, B.C., to escape the cold winters and live near the ocean. Cancer robbed Joe and his family and friends of more time. He fought with courage, grace, optimism, and all he had.
Be in peace, your Lass will always love you.
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