William Edward Busch, Jr. passed away on May 21, 2021. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he was the second of seven children of the late William E. Busch & Marie Furman Busch. After a short time living in Ohio, his parents purchased a home in what was then a new development in Dundalk. It was there that he had his fondest memories of growing up with his siblings.
He married his soulmate and devoted wife Kathleen O’Rourke Busch on June 26, 1971 at St. Mary’s, Star of the Sea Church in South Baltimore. In 1973 Bill became the proud and loving father of his son Colin O’Rourke Busch. Being a father was a role and title Bill cherished and in October 2020 he joyously gained the title of father-in-law when Colin married Melody Esmaili who Bill considered a true gift to his family.
Bill is survived by his siblings John L. Busch & wife Mary, Mark A. Busch, Thomas J. Busch & wife Barbara, Mary K. Oshiro & husband Carl, Donna M. Naylor & husband Steven, Florence C. George & husband David, his many nieces, nephews and their families. Bill is also survived by Kathleen’s brother & sisters, Timothy M. O’Rourke & wife Robyn, Patricia R. Brown and Colleen A. Barton & husband Dennis, his many nieces, nephews and their families. Bill also wished to make mention of those he loved that predeceased him: sisters-in-law Alejandra Grande Busch and Pamela Adams Busch, niece Barbara Brown Schmale and nephew Dennis K. Barton, Jr.
In his younger years Bill was always athletic, strong, and competitive. He played rec league softball and football with his younger brothers, he enjoyed white water rafting, scuba diving and shooting sporting clays. He also had a love for cars and motorcycles which began in 1968 with his first car, a Ford Mustang and culminated with the purchase of his dream car, a 2019 Bullitt edition Mustang. But of all his passions and hobbies, golf was his absolute favorite. From Delaware to Maryland, Williamsburg to Myrtle Beach and as far away as Ireland, Bill truly enjoyed being on the course with foursomes comprised of family, co-workers and friends who shared his love of the game. Bill kept his strong and disciplined swing up until his last outing just three weeks before his passing. On that last outing, perched on a picturesque spot on the course overlooking tee boxes, island green and fairways, he happily reflected on the beauty and lifelong friendships the game offered.
Starting in the late 70's with a major rehab on their first house in South Baltimore through the many interior and exterior redesigns to their dream house in Delaware, Bill and Kathleen enjoyed renovating and reimagining the many homes they shared. Bill particularly enjoyed working with his hands and took great pride in creating a warm, welcoming home environment that he shared with family and friends alike.
Bill deeply cherished his loving family and he always enjoyed the get-together no matter the occasion. He will be forever remembered for his expert level ham "fixing" abilities, as being the instigator of balloon fights, as the man who joyously shared the art of whipped cream indulgence and for being the silly wizard who bewildered every youngster he met with his amazing removable finger trick. He was the prankster with the quick wit but he was also very attentive, generous and kind, always taking the time to lend an ear or a shoulder to anyone who needed him.
Bill attended Our Lady of Hope Elementary until the age of 14 when he felt a calling to study to be a Franciscan Brother at St. Joseph’s in Pulaski, Wisconsin. He often reminisced about how, while attending to his duties of maintaining the school grounds, he was drawn to the “pump house" which was the mechanical operation center for the school's electrical, water, heat and lighting. That fascination likely served as a guide for the steps he took when he returned to Maryland at the age of 18 to be closer to family and find his way in life. Bill was soon introduced to the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 486 where he attended their 5-year apprenticeship program which started him on the path toward his many professional accomplishments. He lived and breathed the brotherhood. From working in the field, teaching at the apprenticeship school, attending management courses at Purdue to the many positions he held and posts he served, Bill took great pride in sharing his strong work ethic, high standards and his honest passion for the trade with his many coworkers and colleagues.
In keeping with Bill's wishes to include something written by his long time colleague and friend John F. Fischer, we share the following: “The inherent shortcoming of the gift of life is its inescapable relationship with death. The upside is what we do with the opportunity in between, as was the rich and full life of Bill Busch. Bill and I first met about 40 years ago. Back then I knew he was my kind of guy. He was a down to earth type of person, and we had a wonderful working relationship. Bill was also very outgoing, friendly and immensely talented as our H.V.A.C. Service Manager. Bill was great company and as good and true a friend as any person could hope to have in their life. I was privileged to know him and to call him friend. I hope, pray and know he has found peace.” -J.F. Fischer
Bill was diagnosed with Malignant Mesothelioma in 2015 at which time his life became a fight. Although it was a battle he knew he would not win, he carried on. With tremendous positivity, strength, dignity and courage he was absolutely determined to find ways to turn the tragedy into a triumph. He often said his biggest hope was that being open and accepting of all the treatments, procedures, surgeries and pain he endured would somehow be useful in helping the doctors learn ways to better treat other people who are battling the same disease. Even in the most trying times, his heart and mind were always filled with thoughts of how he could help others.
And so, after several days of smile filled visits from friends and loving family, on a beautiful sunny day in late May 2021, with his wife and son at his side, Bill found the peace he so deserved, and his pain was no more. His life may have ended but his love and light will shine eternal.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, Bill’s wish was to make memorial donations to The University of Maryland, Baltimore Foundation, in support of the Mesothelioma Treatment & Research Center Fund at http://www.medschool.umaryland.edu/BuschTribute or checks should be made payable to UMBF, Inc./Busch Tribute and mailed to University of Maryland, Baltimore, Office of Philanthropy Operations, 220 N. Arch Street, 13th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201
Relatives and friends are invited to gather on Friday, June 18, 2021 from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 PM. for a celebration of Bill's life.
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