Friday, November 5, 2021

Phillip Nicholas Buihner: 1951-2021

Posted By on Fri, Nov 5, 2021 at 10:27 AM

click to enlarge Phillip Nicholas Buihner April 10, 1951, to Oct. 2, 2021
  • Phillip Nicholas Buihner April 10, 1951, to Oct. 2, 2021

Phillip Nicholas Buihner was born April 10, 1952, and passed away Oct. 2, 2021, at age 70 from metastatic prostate cancer. He was home, surrounded by family and loved ones. 

 Phil was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, and moved to Eureka as a boy. A graduate of Eureka Senior High, Phil spent his life in service to his country and community. Phil enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers right out of high school and served four years in Germany. He would go on to serve in the Army National Guard for another 16 years until he retired at the rank of sergeant. He completed the Police Academy at College of the Redwoods before being hired on as a deputy with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in 1982. He loved his job and continued to work there until he retired in 2011 at the rank of sergeant. Even in retirement Phil devoted much of his time to the community he loved by working a short stint as a bailiff at the Federal Courthouse before returning to the Sheriff’s Office as extra help until his cancer diagnosis in 2018.

During those years of service Phil also found time to live a full and cherished life. In 1983 he and his long-time girlfriend Kriss were married. They would go on to raise three sons; Nicholas, Kristopher and Brian. Phil was thrilled to see all three of his sons enter fulfilling careers, marry and go on to start families of their own, including six grand-dogs and four grand-kids. As a husband, father and grandfather, he harbored a great love for his family, was proud of his sons, praised his daughters-in-law, and cherished his grandchildren. 

Knowing Phil was a delight. Always ready to help, he was reputed by colleagues, family, and friends to keep a pocket full of tools wherever he went. When he wasn’t on patrol keeping Humboldt safe and beautiful, he spent his time watching reruns of M*A*S*H, reading Tom Clancy, walking his dogs, riding motorcycles, working on creative projects with his wife and spending time with his growing family. His love of motorcycles took on many forms over the years, from racing motocross and teaching motorcycle riding lessons, to riding cross-country and going on shorter joy rides with the local Harley Group. He was always ready to help Kriss solve some new engineering challenge in her decorating and party-planning business, including balloon arches for weddings and huge props for the glory days of the Eureka Inn Christmas Trees.

It was a dream of Phil’s that he and Kriss retire near the lakes where they had spent so many summers with their children, family, and friends. He loved pulling his kids, grandkids, and all their friends behind his ski-boat on Whiskeytown or Shasta. The man was a traditionalist and single skied, but was also known for getting in the water with a large, polished plywood disc and flimsy wooden chair from his childhood. He certainly made for a curious sight as he was pulled gracefully around the lake on this disk and chair, turning the heads of every witness.

After his diagnosis he and Kriss were able to buy their dream home on Shasta Lake to finally retire in peace with their projects and family. It was in that home that he spent the remainder of his shortened life. Kriss and Phil were blessed to have the support of their sons and family members in the final months preceding his death. Some took over household chores and repairs while others took over the shopping and cooking, but most important was the time everyone was able to spend together. Phil was overjoyed that they would give up so much of their own lives to help take care of him. Even when having so many people around became chaotic, if you asked to close his door he would smile and say, “That’s not chaos, that's love.” 

Phil is survived by Kriss, his wife of 38 years; his sons Nicholas, Kristopher and Brian; his grandchildren Morgan, Bryson, Evelyn and Oaklee; and his sisters Jo, Eileen, Margaret, Kathy and Paula.

Phil will be honored with a military service at the National Cemetery in Igo, California, where his ashes will be interred on Friday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. A memorial celebration will be held at the Peace Officers Hall in Freshwater on Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. 

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