Thomas Lee "Buzz" Costner was born on September 16, 1935 in Gastonia, North Carolina to William and Famie Costner. He has one surviving brother, Bobby and wife Betty Costner of Gastonia, and numerous nieces and nephews including Rhonda, Judy, Billy, Tony, Robby, Angela, Cricket, Linda, Anthony, Lisa, Kim, and Molly, and local family including wife, Frances; mother-in-law, Roberta Strayhorn; sister-in-law Carol and husband Ron Cunningham; children Cheryl and husband John Regmund, Craig Dearing, Niki and husband Shawn Cockerham, and grandchildren Clinton and Wesley Regmund, McKenzie, Jake, and Kylie Cockerham, niece Kathryn Cunningham.
Buzz is preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, Foch, William, Jay, and Gene Costner, and two sisters, Martha Costner and Ina Gillespie.
After graduating from high school Buzz joined the Air Force, beginning a 20-year career spanning from 1953-1973. Buzz was in Air Force Intelligence (Security Service) and spent 16 of his 20 years overseas in places such as Germany, Turkey, Okinawa, and Thailand. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal. After retiring from the service, Buzz became a salesman for the Royal Casket Co. in San Antonio, Texas. He retired to spend time during his daughter Niki's junior and senior years of high school so he could be a part of her activities, and made a tradition of supporting all of his grandchildren and nieces since then in these endeavors.
In 2000, Buzz went to work part-time at Fall Creek Winery in Tow doing tours and wine tastings. Although he enjoyed his job and the people he met through this job immensely, Buzz worked only part-time so he could spend time doing what he loved most, watching his grandkids participate in their events. Buzz loved attending all of the football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, baseball and track events. Buzz was a mainstay and the number one supporter at nearly all of their events.
Buzz was a member of Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church. He was a member and contributor of many church organizations.
He attended an Emmaus Walk in Junction in 1988 and served on numerous teams after that. He was Lay Leader of Walk #163. This lead to Buzz becoming a member of two weekly Emmaus groups, with Jim Cone and Shep Shepard for more than 25 years and with Bill Klotz, Bill Holt, Bill Spain, and David Willmann for 10 years. He led Cornerstone Sunday School class for more than 20 years, participated in LWMUMC Men's Tuesday Breakfast group and did devotionals every week. He was also part of a Prayer Group, praying every Tuesday at the church (with Jim Mitchell and Taylor Virdell, and recently with Worth Green).
Although Buzz had not lived in North Carolina in years, he was a devout North Carolina Tar Heels fan, sporting his blue North Carolina cap every game day. He was a man who loved his family, friends and being with people. He will be missed and celebrated by all who knew him.
Memorials may be made to Lutie Watkins Memorial UMC, P. O. Box 397, Llano, Texas 78643.
- Written by Heather Wagner
- Published Mar. 20, 2015