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Brandon Thurston Buckner, affectionately known as Zoo, passed away unexpectedly on August 8, 2022. Brandon was born on December 21, 1972, in Akron, Ohio, to Michael and Patricia Buckner. He attended Chapel Hill Christian School, where the foundation of his Christian faith was built. He graduated from Firestone High School, where he was a standout student and a tremendous three-sport athlete (baseball, basketball, football). It was football that allowed Brandon to earn a scholarship to Tennessee State and then Ashland University, where he played quarterback and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In his formative years, Brandon attended Robert St. Church of God (now Arlington Church of God). He loved the hymns the choir sang and often rocked back and forth in the pew, singing right along. On the way home from church, he would recite the numerous lessons and scriptures he learned for his parents and siblings.
First and foremost, Brandon was about faith and family. He married the love of his life Jennifer in 2006 and faithfully partnered with her to create a home in which love, good vibes, creativity, and inspiration permeate the atmosphere. Brandon adored his wife and cherished his time with his family above all, exhibiting what true love, compassion, and commitment look like. Jen recalls the persistence and patience he showed when he proposed to her. Wanting it to be special and romantic, Brandon once attempted while strolling on the beach, but the moment was interrupted by a group of galloping wild horses. He tried again on the deck of their beach house, but before he could get on bended knee, a giant swarm of bees invaded the space. Finally, he decided to ascend to the top of the Akron Beacon Journal building to ask for Jen’s hand, and from that moment on, the two walked as one. Together, they took great delight in providing opportunities for their sons to pursue their passions. Cadence and Chase have been the absolute lights of their lives, and Brandon dedicated so much of his time to coaching the boys on and off the field. He gave them his all.Brandon garnered many accolades and awards for being a top performer in his line of work, primarily in the sales field. He worked at Herff Jones, the Boys and Girls Scouts of America, and the Akron Beacon Journal, to name a few, but he was an artist at heart and a business-savvy leader in his own right. He was owner and operator of BBucknerCustoms LTD and loved customizing full-sized, creatively designed football helmets that were widely admired and sold across the country.
Brandon had many hobbies, such as woodworking, gardening, grilling, sneaker-collecting, and DJing in his man cave. Together with his brothers and childhood friends, he helped found an organization called Keepers of The Art that for many years has created high-quality live experiences that expressed their love for golden age hip hop/neo soul music and education to the greater Akron community. Brandon was a twenty-eight-year member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (initiated into the Alpha Tau Chapter at the University of Akron). A servant leader, he dutifully served on the Weathervane Playhouse board of trustees and was director of program and equipment for the Revere Youth Football program. For twenty-five years, he could be seen alongside his brothers in the parking lot of Arlington Church of God in Akron, Ohio, where he was a security team member.
The countless lives Brandon has touched, whether on a court, field, at home, in an office, on campus, or in the community, have been immense and far-reaching. He seemingly got along with everyone and was quick with an amusing anecdote, joke, or favorite line from a movie or show. He always made others feel at ease and aimed to please however he could. He was consistently a great son, brother, husband, father, grandson, uncle, cousin, and friend to so many – truly one of a kind. He will be sorely missed, but he will forever live in our hearts, souls, minds, and memories. We love you, Zoo. Rest in power, king.
Brandon was preceded in death by his mother, Patricia Buckner; his grandparents, Sam and Ruth Rogers and Frank and Marian Buckner; his mother-in-law, Patricia Engle; his aunt, Pam O’Hara, and his uncle, Jeffrey Buckner.
To cherish his life and memory, Brandon is lovingly remembered by his devoted and faithful wife, Jennifer; and his loving children, Cadence and Chase; father, Michael Buckner; brothers, Michael Buckner II (Tawanna) and Tobin Buckner (Traci); father-in-law, Don Engle; sister-in-law, Michele Contos (Steve); brother-in-law, Jeff Engle (Stuart Campbell); uncles, Mark Rogers (Sossy) and Reginald Buckner (Bridgett); nieces, Mayon and Mikah Buckner; nephews, Jackson and Justice Buckner, Hunter and Nicholas Contos; cousins Carmen Robinson (Daryl), M’Bwebe Ishangi (Licia), Paris James (William), Jeffrey Buckner Jr. (Fallen), Courtney Hatchett (Raymond), and Chris Rogers, along with countless fraternity brothers, friends, colleagues, associates, acquaintances, players, coaches, and the entire Revere Youth Football family.