Richard (Dick) Lee Busby was born April 9, 1946, in St. Joseph, Missouri, while his dad was still serving in the Navy in World War II, and was received into the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on June 12, 2020, in Anthony, Kansas, at the age of 74. He was the son of Harley T. Busby, Jr., and Elnora Ruth (Holland) Busby. His boyhood home was simple and poor; he remembered wearing flour sack shorts and surviving on their home garden and a flock of chickens.
Music spoke to him early on in his life—mostly from listening to his mom and dad in church choir rehearsals. He had vivid memories of going to the Snow White Drive-in after their choir rehearsals and listening to “Wayward Wind” on the jukebox.
In 1957 his family moved to Wichita, where his dad had acquired a window-dressing job at Henry’s and later at J. C. Penney Co.
Dick excelled in music at church, in Junior High, and High School at North High. In 1964 he was awarded a Singing Quaker scholarship at Friends University. As a member of Singing Quakers, he was privileged to sing in 1964 at the World’s Fair in New York and then in 1968 on the Quakers’ first European tour. In 1969, he began his teaching career for one year in both Harper and Anthony High Schools and then began teaching High School Vocal Music at Chaparral High School when it was newly built and began in 1970.
In 1970 Dick met the love of his life, Diana Peters, who came to Friends University as Dr. Cecil Riney’s secretary in the Fine Arts Office. Their first date was on Valentine’s Day, 1970. His famous “line” when he called her for that first date was, “Bob, June, and I would like to get to know you better.” (Bob and June were friends who introduced them.) Dick and Diana were married on June 4, 1971, at the First Baptist Church chapel in downtown Wichita, where Dick was at that time serving part time as Minister of Music.
After their marriage and beginning life in Anthony, they became a part of the Anthony Christian Church, where Dick served as choir director.
To their union Matthew Christian was born in October of 1974; Timothy Paul was born in August of 1976 after their return to Wichita. In 1976, Dick felt led to leave teaching and go into Music and Youth Ministry; so their family moved to Wichita where he served at University Baptist Church. After leaving this ministry in 1981, he served at home as “Mr. Mom” for a few years while their sons were very young; substitute taught in the Wichita school system a bit; was Cantor at Temple Emanu-el, a Jewish congregation [When he was surprised that they hired him at Temple Emanu-el, they told him they would rather have a Christian who could sing than a Jew who could not!]; served as choir director at Asbury United Methodist Church; sang in the choir at First Evangelical Free Church; sang and soloed with the Wichita Chamber Chorale; sang early music with John Scott (where he learned to appreciate good food and wine); and later found a choir directing job that he truly loved at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church.
In 1989 he heard that his old job as high school vocal music teacher at Chaparral High School was going to be opening, and he lost no time applying and was hired back; he remained in this position until his retirement in 2008. One of the highlights of his years back at CHS was in 2000, when he took a group of his high school students on a European tour with American Ambassadors. He always loved preparing and presenting musicals and preparing his students for music contests. He also taught beginning piano lessons to many students in his home. He served as choir director at the Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper after returning to teaching and also organized several community choirs to sing at Christmas time.
After retiring from teaching, he served as Lay Pastor at the Freeport Presbyterian Church for 10 years.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Harley and Elnora Busby; stepmother, Anna Delores Busby; brother, Phil Busby; stepsisters: Mary Lynn Doris and Debbie Busby. He is survived by his wife, Diana; sons: Matthew, of Anthony, and Timothy (Michelle Berry), of Wichita; brother, David (June) Busby, Park City; stepsisters: Gloria DeRoulet, Wichita, and Sharon Doris, Shawnee; uncle, Truett Busby, Fort Worth, Texas; nieces; nephews; cousins; and friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date, tentatively in August.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Freeport Presbyterian Church or to Anthony Community Care Center and may be sent in care of the funeral home.
Prairie Rose Funeral Home, 602 E. Main St., Anthony, KS 67003. www.prairierosefuneralhomes.com