Bob Busse, 100: Fully embodied ‘service above self’


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Service above self. That was how lifelong Rotary Club member Bob Busse lived his life, fully embodying the organization’s motto, said his daughter, Laurie Rosenblatt of Fort Worth, Texas.

“He was always wanting to give back,” she said. “He was in Rotary for over 76 years, and he really did live by service to others before self.”

Busse was a dedicated volunteer for everything from the Rotary Club to Special Olympics Georgia, for which he’d worked tirelessly to raise money.

Bob Busse, 100: Fully embodied ‘service above self’ photo

Serving as a contact for the Ladies Professional Golf Association from 1977-1984, Busse helped to raise $300,000 for the Special Olympics, which named its annual golf tournament after him in honor of his efforts, said longtime friend Ted Seaman.

“He was a persistent solicitor of donations for them,” he said. “And now the golf tournament is known as the Bob Busse Golf Classic.”

Robert George Busse of Roswell died April 12 from natural causes at Heartland Health Care Center in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 100.

His memorial service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Roswell Presbyterian Church. Jim’s Funeral Home in Hurst, Texas, was in charge of cremation arrangements.

In addition to his work with Rotary and Special Olympics Georgia, Busse was an avid volunteer and elder at Roswell Presbyterian Church, where he’d been a longtime member before moving to Texas four years ago, his daughter said.

Busse had also served as a mentor for several budding businesses in the community, utilizing his business experience of 36 years with Burroughs Corp., now known as Unisys Corp., where he was named top salesman for two consecutive years before his retirement in the ’70s, Rosenblatt said.

“He consulted smaller businesses on how to finance and structure their businesses for a profit,” she said. “He was a big mentor, and he taught everyone he could.”

An alumnus of Rutgers University, Busse had been a member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, for which he’d served as president and grand national president from 1953-55. After he graduated, Busse remained active in the fraternity’s alumni association, serving as a mentor for upcoming members and attending annual meetings and conferences.

In 1996 the fraternity recognized Busse’s contributions by awarding him the Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2012 it awarded him the Diamond Helmet Award for his lifelong commitment to the brotherhood, said fraternity brother Mitch Simmons.

“He’s certainly been a role model,” he said. “He was just that voice of reason and experience of someone who’s been a part of the organization since the 30s.”

The Rotary Club also named Busse a Distinguished Rotarian and awarded him the Service Above Self award in 2009 for his dedication to his community and the Atlanta Rotary, as well as his ability to live every day like a true Rotarian, said Linda Glass, executive director of Rotary Club Atlanta.

“When he was 92, he was still helping us at Monday meetings,” she said. “He loved giving back to the community and helping. He was outstanding.”

In addition to his daughter, Busse is survived by a son, Ronald Busse of Alaska; and six grandchildren.

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