Ernest Busby died Dec. 7, 2013. He was born Feb. 16, 1927 in rural Rice, to Ples Busby, a Freestone County native, and Mae Bell Butler, a Wood County native. Ernest accepted Christ at an early age. He grew up in Rice and attended public schools there.
After graduation, Busby enlisted in the Air Force on Aug. 6, 1945. Ernest reenlisted in the Army Air Corps on Dec. 14, 1945 and shortly after, on Dec. 26, 1945, he married the love of his life, Mildred Lankford of Teague. Nine children were born to this union and their marriage was strong for 66 years until Mildred Busby’s death in 2012.
Busby began his military career as a clerk, but with his strong desire to learn, he found the opportunity to serve as an administrator, aero medical specialist, classification assignment supervisor, counselor, personnel superintendent and first sergeant as well as career guidance supervisor and athletics supervisor during his years in the service. His wife Mildred and their children were able to accompany him during his tours. The Busby family started at Kelly AFB in San Antonio and were able to go to duty stations such as Norton AFB in San Bernardino, Zoroto AFB in Japan, James Connally AFB in Waco, Azores AFB in Portugal, and Laughlin AFB in Del Rio. Through the years of service in the Air Force, Busby has served in Japan during the Korean Conflict, in Thailand during the Vietnam War and in Azores, Portugal.
Upon returning to the United States in 1954, Sgt. Busby was stationed at Connally AFB in Waco, where he remained until August 1966. During his years in the military, Busby was able to earn 182 college credit hours from his training. He majored in sociology and began working for the civil service at the Veterans Administration regional office in Waco as a veteran benefit counselor before retiring in 1981. Throughout his time in Waco, he was instrumental in organizing interracial dances and events at James Connally AFB, which helped to break down racial barriers. He served as a deacon to Rev. B.T. Talbert at Community Missionary Baptist Church in Waco for many years and was a major supporter to the Sunday School program, the Baptist Training Union, and the Caravan Gospel Singers.
Busby retired from the Air Force on June 30, 1973, having served his country for 28 years. Busby was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star for meritorious service, and he served in the 57th Air Reserve Squadron, a unit that won outstanding awards for saving lives.
After his retirement, Ernest returned to Teague to become one of the most giving supporters of the community. In 1986, he started working as the Freestone County’s Veteran Service Officer and was responsible to the Freestone County Judge, helping area veterans obtain their benefits for over 16 years. Busby was invited to join the Teague Ministerial Alliance in 1988 and served as president 1989 and 1990, active for 10 years. Throughout his life in Teague, Busby has served as an alderman, mayor pro tem, and mayor of Teague. He has also served with the Heart of Texas Council of Governments executive committee and was elected as president of HOTCOG in 1993. On April 24, 1993, Busby was named the winner of the E. E. Wheat Award during the Freestone County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Freedom Fund Banquet. In 1994, he received the Teague Man of the Year Award presented by the Teague Chamber of Commerce.
Busby loved to serve. He worked tirelessly, volunteering for The Lord’s Community Storehouse food pantry. He volunteered many hours for fundraising efforts and lent himself to anything that was needed in the community. He served as the president of the Magnolia Benevolent Association. Busby was also a longtime and faithful member of St. James United Methodist Church serving as the chairman of the administration board and the Council on Ministries. He was a member of the Teague Chapter of the American Legion and VFW Post 6799 presented Busby with the Post Quartermaster Citation for 1981-82 in recognition of his outstanding cooperation and untiring industry in preparing and forwarding transmittals which enabled his post to exceed 100 percent in membership.
Ernest also had a love and passion for baseball and softball – he was a player as well as a coach and manager. From 1946 until 1948, during his career in the Air Force, Busby played service baseball and softball, winning pennant trophies. Busby played baseball with local semi-pro teams and was able to compete against teams and great players like Satchel Paige. Later, after retiring from the military, he was involved in organizing Little League teams, managing men’s and women’s baseball and softball teams, as well as managing the James Connally “Over 35 Team” who were ATC champions in 1955. He also managed the Teague Tigers, a team composed of military and civilian men from Teague which Busby entered into the Annual Amateur Baseball Tournament at Katy Park. He was extremely active with youth and managed men’s ball teams, girl’s teams and served as a Little League manager and official. Ernest was also an umpire for 20 years.
Busby was preceded in death by his father, Ples Busby; his mother, Mary Bell Butler Busby; his wife, Mildred Busby; his daughters, Brendy Carol Busby and Mildred Earnestine Busby-Longmire; his brother, Tom Anderson Busby; and his sister, Imogene Salley.
He is survived by his son, Ernest Busby II and wife Constontial, of Round Rock; daughters, Rose Marie DeGrate and husband Curtis, of Teague; Dorothy Jean Quaite and husband Herbert, of Waxahachie; Diana Lynn Busby, of Teague; Evelyn Joyce Busby, of Dallas; Gloria Denise Busby-Carter and husband Alford, of Teague; and Bridgette Busby and husband Archie Hicks, of Teague; sisters, Geraldine Green, of Waxahachie; Della Mae Preston, of Ennis; Mary Lynn Shaw, of Ennis; brother-in-law, Arby Lee Hambric, of Las Vegas; sister-in-law, Rosa Lee Haynes, of Teague; 26 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren, numerous great-great-grandchildren, extended family and special friends.
Moore’s Angelic Funeral Home is serving the Busby family. Visit mooresangelicfuneralhome.com to sign the guest book and light a candle.