Buckles in 1917, at age 16.
Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said Monday the family of Frank Buckles has many memories to cherish, as they look back on an incredible life that began more than 110 years ago.
Buckles, the last American veteran of World War I, died of natural causes Sunday morning in his home near Charles Town, W.Va.
He was born February 1, 1901 in Missouri – but moved to a small farm in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle with his wife, Audrey. She passed away in 1999 after 53 years of marriage.
Buckles in 2007, at age 106.
“What a remarkable life this man led,” Tennant said. “He wouldn’t take no for an answer when he tried to join the military when he was just 16 years old. He is to be honored not only for his military service but his tireless campaigning for a permanent monument to the veterans of the first World War.
“This man was the last surviving link to a time before many of our parents were even born. His longevity was matched only by his quick wit, his knowledge of history, and his determination to see his fellow Doughboys honored in Washington. He handled the spotlight of meeting world leaders and accepting some of the highest honors with grace and dignity.
“I send my condolences to the Buckles family. I hope the grief of losing such an amazing man is overcome by the pride they feel for being so close to an American treasure for so many years.”
Buckles’ death leaves only two surviving World War I veterans in the world – one lives in the United Kingdom and the other lives in Australia.