Constance 'Connie' Mae Buness; Jan. 16, 1934, to April 14, 2023
May 17, 2023
It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother and dear friend Constance (Connie) Mae Buness on April 14, 2023.
Born to Bonita (Bunny) and Hugo Stoke on January 16, 1934, in Tomahawk , Wisconsin, Connie was raised primarily in Tacoma, Washington, with her older brother James (Jimmy) Stoke. After high school graduation, Connie entered nursing school, but her newly discharged Army fiancé Oliver (Ole) had other ideas, which included their marriage and an almost immediate move to Alaska.
Ole and older brothers Maurice and Gordon had set their sights on founding Buness Bros., a frontier sporting goods store, in Wrangell, Alaska, in 1953. Imagine Connie's surprise as a "City Girl" arriving on a remote Alaska island, on a seaplane, already pregnant, in a dress and heels! Connie definitely had class!
Although Connie's dream was to be a stay-at-home Mom, her bookkeeping skills, which she acquired while working for Everett Buness' accounting firm, were eventually needed at "the store."
Connie and Ole were blessed with six children. They welcomed their daughter Jan Bailey in 1951, with whom they were joyfully reunited in 2005. After arriving in Wrangell, they welcomed five more children: Terry in 1954, Debi in 1955, Randy in 1957, Vickie in 1959, and Monty in 1960. At one point, Connie had five teens living under the same roof; never a dull moment at the Buness house! Located next to the community playground, Connie kept all the neighborhood children supplied with Kool-Aid, cookies and Band-Aids.
When Connie wasn't tied to the stove or the calculator, she was an active member of the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. We all looked forward to her zany, colorful outfits as she slung "Holy Burgers" for the Church's annual 4th of July fundraiser; that was classic Connie! She also loved decorating for the holidays, especially Halloween. Boy did she entertain those kids staring into her crazily crafted window on the way up the stairs for Trick or Treat.
Easy humored and always cheerfully prepared, she was like Mary Poppins with her magic purse that could seemingly produce any object on command ... anything, anytime, anywhere. She was a lifesaver at numerous Firemen's Picnics and a true "Hub" whenever young mothers gathered; she was always quick with a bit of sage advice or a light hearted comment.
Connie was most comfortable in her own kitchen, where as queen she could hold court in her goofy aprons, frying taco shells for the masses; her holiday meals were nothing short of legendary.
Connie's mind was sharp as a tack and her memory of events and dates was remarkable. She endured many medical procedures in her later years that limited her mobility, but she fought the good fight until her body simply gave up. She leaves behind Ole, her husband of 70 years, as well as the families of their six adult children. She will be missed.
There will be special mass for Connie at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 2, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.