Omessi said he was just 19 when he started working for the Public Works Department, but Buckley was happy to mentor him. Now, 26 years later, Omessi was saying goodbye to his friend, a man he viewed as a second father.
The 111 Metrolink train collided head-on with a southbound Union Pacific freighter in Chatsworth. The death count stood at 25 Monday.
Buckley, 59 , is one of three victims who worked in the city. Walter Fuller, 54, who was Bob Hope Airport’s Federal Aviation Administration air traffic manager, and Dean Brower, 51, who worked in the Water Reclamation Plant, also died in the crash.
Buckley, known as “Buck” to his friends, started his city career as a “mechanics helper” in 1976 and was promoted to a full-time mechanic three years later, Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford said. He worked on the heavy-duty fleet of trucks, such as those used for refuse, she said.
Buckley moved to the city in 1952 and graduated from Burbank High in 1966.
He was a longtime Metrolink commuter who took the train to and from his home in Simi Valley, Omessi said.
Brower worked for the past five years out of the city’s Water Reclamation Plant, Teaford said.
“He was a good, solid worker and will be sorely missed,” she said.
On Monday, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority opened and adjourned its regular meeting in Fuller’s memory. He worked at Burbank’s airport since 2006.
“He was a very soft-spoken man who is very professional, kind and friendly. I respected him tremendously, and he will be missed by everyone here,” said Lucy Burghdorf, the airport’s community relations manager. “He was always at our annual blood drive each year. He was just that kind of guy.”
The city’s flags were at half-mast in honor of the three victims, and tonight’s City Council meeting will open and adjourn in their memory.
Buckley was survived by his wife of 38 years, Tish; his son, Jeff; his daughter, Diane; and five grandchildren. Brower was survived by his wife and their three children, Teaford said. Fuller was survived by his wife, Jennifer, and three children, said Joyce Streator, the airport authority’s vice president.
ALISON TULLY covers City Hall and public safety. She may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at email@example.com.