Leonard John Busen, 86, of St. Louis passed away on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at Delmar Gardens On The Green in Chesterfield.
Leonard was born in St. Louis on March 6, 1930, to the late Frank R. and Louise D. (Kreutzer) Busen. He graduated from Owensville High School in 1947. He married Charlotte Schnell in King of Prussia in Pennsylvania. They later divorced. He was a journalist working in the newspaper industry.
He was also preceded in death by Charlotte and sister, Irene Voss.
His survivors include his brothers, Raymond "Ray" Busen and wife, Kathryn of Easton Maryland and Frank E. "Gene" Busen and wife, Dorothy of Huntersville, N.C.
Leonard was an interesting person. He would be described as an individualist being tenacious, reliable, capable, self-reliant and maybe eccentric and an extremist in a good way. When he started a project or activity, he was in all the way.
He began his career in high school as a "printer's devil" in the Gasconade County Republican Printing Office. He also threw the morning newspaper from a stand on the back of a model A Ford in all kinds of weather. Apparently printer's ink got in his blood because he later majored in journalism in college.
As a Boy Scout he quickly rose thru the normal ranks, then achieved "Star" and "Life" Scout. He performed all requirements for "Eagle" Scout, except doing a project to benefit the community. When later asked why he hadn't done a project, he said he didn't want the attention or publicity of being the first Eagle Scout from the Owensville Troop.
He enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War. He became a machinist mate and quickly advanced to first class petty officer during a less than four-year hitch. A rarity in those days.
After the Navy, with the support of the G.I. Bill, he put himself thru the University of Missouri, graduating with a Masters Degree in Journalism. This led to a position as staff reporter for the Metro East Journal in Illinois. After the paper ceased publication, he did a variety of jobs which interested him such as construction, teaching, auto sales, mail carrier and especially background checks on those seeking security clearance for the government.
In his late 30's he decided to walk for his health. Soon he was jogging, then running and competing in races as the 5K, 10K, then 26-mile marathons. He qualified, then completed the world famous Boston Marathon. Later he began race-walking, competing in 100-mile races, attempting to finish in less than 24 hours. He sometimes set records in his age group.
After being an avid small game hunter till manhood, he later became an animal activist, supporting the Humane Society, S.P.C.A., Greenpeace and others.
In summary, Leonard was a remarkable person. In any activity he was interested in, relying on only himself, he persevered until he mastered it. Intellectually, he was a member of Mensa.
He will be sadly missed by his brothers, buddies, caregivers and those who knew him well.
Burial was in Countryside Memorial Gardens in Owensville. The services were private.