Henry M. Buckley, Sr., 58, town treasurer and tax collector, saved Charles A. Daniels, 36, X-ray technician, and helped to save Etta Johnson, 48, and Leroy Hudson, 36, office clerk, from drowning, Savannah Beach, Georgia, September 7, 1953. Daniels and Mrs. Johnson, who were wading along the edge of a sandbar between the Atlantic Ocean and Tybee Creek, tried to join Hudson in deep water 10 feet away but were submerged briefly at a sharp drop-off. They rose within reach of Hudson, and he and Daniels took hold of Mrs. Johnson and tried to tow her to the sandbar. A strong tidal current carried them farther into deep water. Daniels, who became exhausted and released Mrs. Johnson, could make little headway toward the sandbar. Buckley was attracted and waded rapidly 260 feet along the sandbar from the bank. Plunging into deep water, he swam 15 feet to Daniels, who was drifting face downward, and towed him to the sandbar. Others reached Daniels and aided him to the bank. Swimming 55 feet from the sandbar through waves a foot and a half high, Buckley overtook Mrs. Johnson and Hudson, who had been submerged repeatedly. Buckley obtained a hold on Mrs. Johnson but was unable to return to the sandbar and towed her and Hudson 130 feet with the tidal current, angling gradually toward the bank with effort. He stopped to tread water after towing Mrs. Johnson and Hudson for seven minutes. Two motorboats were directed to the scene; and the occupants took Mrs. Johnson and Hudson, who became unconscious, and Buckley to the bank. Mrs. Johnson and Hudson were revived. They and Daniels were treated for nausea at a hospital and recovered. Buckley was winded and extremely tired and experienced muscular soreness in his legs.42977-3904
Henry Milton Buckley, 87, who retired in 1969 after serving 45 years as town clerk of Tybee Island, died Sunday at Oceanside Nursing Home on Tybee after a long ilness. He was a resident of 1703 Inlet Ave.
Known as the “Sage of Savannah Beach,” Buckley spent most of his life on Tybee and gained the reputation as an excellent swimmer. His daily exercise routine for ryears included round0trip swim to the lightship, about three miles offshore, and he remained a regular swimmer until he was nearly 70.
He was cited by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1954, receiving a bronze medal at age 58 for saving the lives of three Augusta visitors 55 feet from shore in choppy waters. He towed the three 130 feet against tidal currents before bringing them to the beach.
for more than 30 years he was, in addition to all other duties, Tybee’s chief lifeguard, in charge of the crew of lifeguards Tybee hired each summer and often taking a watch himself.
He assumed the towns clerk’s job in 1924 as a “temporary three-month assignment,” but stayed at the post until his retirement.
Buckley often was in demand as a speaker on the old days of Tybee, when name bands played at the Tybrisa Pavilion and dance contests were the rage.
He served in the historic Chatham Artillery’s 117th unit in France in World War I, and as a lieutenant he helped reorganize the National Guard here after the war. He also went to the Mexican Border with the Chathams in 1917.
The Savannah native was a life member of Chatham Artillery Association and the Veterans for Foreign Wars. He was a graduate of Savannah High School and a stare athlete during his scholastic days.
In business after his retirement he was a licensed real estate broker and agent.
Surviving are two sons, John Joseph Buckley and Henry M. Buckley, both of Tybee Island; a sister Annie M. Buckley of Savannah; five grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.