Howard C. Buickel, 89, Santa Claus

Howard BuickelHoward C. “Buddy” Buickel, 89, Santa Claus, died Monday (April 8,) in St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville.

He was born in Boonville on December 5, 1923, to Louis M. and Emma Mae (Hougland) Buickel. He married Juanita Wells of Greensburg on February 8, 1948. She died in 2010.

Surviving are two sons, Marc Buickel, and his wife, Carol, Crystal Lake, Illinois, and Gregg Buickel, Evansville; daughter Sherry Sutton and her husband, Tony, South Bend; a sister, Bettye Metcalf, St. Louis; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by two brothers, George and Paul Buickel.

Mr. Buickel served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Pacific Theater and was part of the invasion of Luzon and the second invasion of Leyte, both in the Philippines. He was a graduate of Indiana University where he was a three-year letterman in baseball and part of the 1949 Big Ten championship team. He played one year of Minor League Baseball for the Fort Lauderdale Braves of the Florida International League in 1950.

He was a teacher and coach from 1951 until his retirement in 1989. He taught and coached at West Lafayette, Corydon and Huntingburg High School, where he was an English teacher and head football coach. He was principal at Owensville High School for two years and then Dale High School, which in 1972 became Heritage Hills High School, where he was the first principal. From 1975 to 1989 he was a physical education teacher and attendance director at Boonville Junior High School.

He enjoyed playing golf, fishing and traveling the world. He was a member of Santa Claus United Methodist Church and the Santa Claus American Legion. He was a fan and recruiter for Indiana University and in 2003 was awarded the Z.G. Clevenger Award by the IU I-Men’s Association.

Funeral services at 10 a.m. CDT Friday in Santa Claus United Methodist Church. The Rev. Steve Seitz and the Rev. Joe Kamman will officiate. Burial will be in the church cemetery. The Santa Claus American Legion Honor Guard will conduct military graveside rites.Fr iends may call from 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Nass and Son Funeral Home in Huntingburg and after 9 a.m. Friday at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Parkinson Disease Association.

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