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Otto F. Busard
July 3, 1926 ~ October 30, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old
4 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Otto's family - View on Tribute Wall
Otto Franklin Busard, Jr., of Douglas Lake, and formerly Rushville, Indiana passed away at his home surrounded by his loving and close-knit family at the age of 97 on October 30, 2023. He
was a skilled craftsman with an insatiable curiosity about nature and the world. He was excited about life from youth to old age and watching his family expand to four generations.
Born in Rushville, Indiana on July 3, 1926. Otto’s remarkable journey began with his loving parents, Otto Busard, Sr. and Hazel May Moore, who owned an automobile repair business that expanded into auto sales. At the age of 14 Otto began washing cars at the garage and eventually would run the operation for nearly 30 years.
Otto graduated from Rushville High School in 1944, but while attending the Rush County Fair that summer Otto spotted from across the American Legion dance tent the loveliest girl he’d
ever seen. Thus began a relationship with Patricia Nelson that would last until her death in 2021. They were married 70 years.
Like many from the greatest generation, their courtship was complicated by World War II. Within months of that dance, Otto joined the army and shipped out to Korea. Upon his return
in 1946, Otto attended Indiana University in Bloomington. Pat & Otto were married on August 6, 1949 in Morristown, Ind and the following year he graduated from IU. Pat and Otto were
blessed by love, compassion, devotion, support, and being friends.
The newly married couple set up their life in Rushville, Pat as a school teacher and Otto running the family dealership that included Dodge, Plymouth, and Oldsmobile. Two daughters, Teresa and Susan, were born there.
Sensing the winds of change in the American auto industry, Otto sold the family business in 1968 and went to Ball State University earning his teachers certificate and Master’s Degree. He began his second career as a high school Industrial Education instructor at Rushville High School, retiring in 1993.
Otto was a skilled craftsman lending his artistic gifts to canvas and wood. He could fix anything. If a tool or device did not exist to aid in his work, he created one. An example is the ingenious device he built that allowed him to single-handedly install their dock in in the spring and haul it out each fall on Douglas Lake; a dock that he had built by hand and has lasted over 50 years. He was also an avid bird watcher.
“If you sit, you rust” was not a nice slogan posted on the refrigerator door, it was the way he lived his life. He played pick-up basketball games of Horse well into his 70s; water skied until he was 88; ice skated well into his 80s; snow skied well into his 90s; sailed competitively in his sunfish on Douglas Lake, earning sailor of the year, into his 90s; and at 96 executed a perfect back flip off his boat. He seldom used an elevator preferring to take the steps.
Otto loved planning infamous parties for his birthday or their anniversaries. He often created his own play list for dancing and handed out CDs of his playlists of his favorite music. He just celebrated his 97th birthday on July 3rd with 100 attending a birthday dinner and dance at his grand-daughter and her husband’s farm in Petoskey. His favorite singer was Frank Sinatra and Otto did it his way.
Summers were spent on beautiful Douglas Lake. To the grandchildren, the lively cottage of Geema and Grandpa became known as “Camp Douglas”! It was a place to enjoy the simple things in life: painting, swimming, sailing, knot tying, and arts and crafts.
The love Pat and Otto had for each other and for their Savior Jesus Christ meant that their home was built on rock, not sand. They were utterly devoted to each other, and their commitment became a building block for their daughters. When discussing her husband, Pat once observed, “we’ve never been together when we haven’t had fun,” and added, “I’m going to write a book, My Life with Otto. It will be a best seller!”
Otto earned his Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America in high school, was the last surviving member of class of 1950 of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Indiana University and a member of Rushville Elks Club & Rotary Club. He was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church of Rushville for 97 years and participated in the Methodist Men Organization there. He was also a Mason and member of National Association of Automotive Dealers.
Otto was very involved in the Douglas Lake Improvement Association where he and Pat helped start the Loon nesting program. Both Pat and Otto loved attending Sunday service and Vespers in Bay View.
Otto is survived by daughters Teresa Crouse (David) of Petoskey, Susan Driscoll (Dennis) of Tucson; four grandchildren William Rutledge, Dr. Julia Mueller (Dustin), Alexandra Crouse, Riley Driscoll; and his great-grandchildren Dakota and Owen Mueller. He was proceeded in death by his parents, his wife Pat, his sisters Virginia Busard Webb, Mary Katherine Busard Roller, and Helen Busard Newbold. A celebration of his life is planned for summer 2024.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes a memorial contribution be made to Douglas Lake Improvement Association (douglaslake.org).