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Kelly A. Bufkin

Mr. Kelly A. Bufkin suddenly finished his earthly assignment on Feb. 9, 2021, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Hot Springs, Ark. 

Kelly was born and raised in Vicksburg. He was a dedicated outdoorsman his entire life, hunting with his family from an early age. He was a Boy Scout in Troop 7. 

After graduating from Vicksburg High School in 2004, he went into the U.S. Air Force through the Early Enlistment program. He entered service as a Munitions Systems Apprentice/Journeyman with the 712th Munitions Squadron, Camp Darby, Livorno, Italy, and finished service as an E-1, Senior Airman, Munitions Systems Journeyman with the 49th Maintenance Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, N.M., May 2008.

After his time in service to the nation, he worked at Bunge-Ergon Vicksburg, in operations, then maintenance.

Although he took courses through the community college of the Air Force, his service afforded him the opportunity to pursue his education through the Sonny V. Montgomery GI Bill. He started at Hinds Community College and was accepted at Mississippi State University in February 2011. He held two degrees from Mississippi State, finishing with a B.A. in history and a B..S. in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture in May 2016.

He met his lifelong love, Katie McKnight, in Vicksburg, in 2008. He followed her to Mississippi State University and then on to Hot Springs, Ark., where they continued their life together.

Kelly worked for Hot Springs National Park, as a biological technician, conducting bat acoustic surveys. He had a tour with AmeriCorps NCCC, where he continued to study bats. He was part of a research project for Mississippi State University, tagging deer with GPS collars.

He became a part of the Quail Forever family in December 2017, as a Farm Bill Biologist. Having secured his professional goal, he then married Katie in November 2018. They always shared the same passions for life; love of all creatures great and small, love of all things in nature. They loved to travel, taking a trip to Canada, a trip to the northwest, where they stayed in his grandparents’ cabin at Spring Creek, Ore., and their last adventure was in the fall of 2020, visiting the Dunes National Park and Reserve and Rocky Mountain National Park where he survived his second wildfire. 

He was preceded in death by Luke, his faithful pet and companion of 11 years, and also his pet Dixie, who he gave to his sisters;  his grandfathers, Lee A. Cheney Sr. and Charles L Bufkin Sr.

He leaves his wife, Dr. Katherine (Katie) McKnight Bufkin; his pets Kira and Ace, of Hot Springs, Ark.; his parents, Robert and Charla Bufkin; his brother, Robby Bufkin; and his twin sisters, Carol and Alayn Bufkin, of Vicksburg; his grandparents, Madeline (Matt) and Ken Grant, of Sutherlin, Ore.; his grandmother, Shirley Bufkin; and his in-laws, Judith and Tom McKnight, also of Vicksburg; and their family, and an innumerable amount of aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters in arms, and friends across the world.  

A memorial service for Kelly will be held in the spring. 

Donations in his memory may be made to Quail Forever in Arkansas, Hot Springs, Ark., and Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center, Vicksburg.