WATERTOWN, NY — David M. “Bus” Busler, 74, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 9, 2021, at Samaritan Medical Center where he had recently been admitted. His loving wife, Alice, was by his side providing him with comfort and care as she had done throughout his long cancer battle.
Born on Dec. 15, 1946, David was the oldest son of the late Melvin, Sr. and Ann Abbate Busler. He lived his entire life in Watertown, NY and valued his life-long friendships and close family connections. He grew up along with his two brothers, Melvin, Jr. and Richard, on Bellew Avenue in the house his father built in 1954 and where his parents lived until they passed in 2005 and 2006. During those years, he was a communicant of St. Anthony’s Church. Growing up with two brothers provided a lot of material for the rehashing of funny stories, pranks and hijinks around the table during holiday dinners. Those are some favorite family memories.
He often spoke of his fond memories growing up in “the flats” where he would spend time at his grandparents’ farm, shucking corn for pennies that he could spend on treats at Carbone Bros. Market and playing wiffle ball using empty vegetable crates as the bases. All that practice was beneficial for his later years in Little League. There were always enough buddies and cousins around to strike up a wiffle ball or baseball game in a neighborhood yard or at Kostyk Field, and to David, those times were the very best of the good ol’ days.
He attended Boon Street School, Case Junior and graduated from Watertown High School in 1965. He learned to play the drums in school, and that began a life-long passion for music and percussion. By the age of 16, David was the drummer in a band playing paid gigs at establishments that, he would joke, may not quite have gotten a parental seal of approval. Throughout the years, he was the drummer for several different local bands, including Alby Kimball, Reuben Brouwer and Thank God it’s Country.
After high school, David attended classes at SUNY Oswego, then returned home to enroll in the Watertown School of Commerce where he met his first wife. On Sept. 7, 1968, he married Susanne L. King at St. Anthony’s Church. They were married for eleven and a half years and had a daughter, Chere.
In 1989, David met and fell in love with Alice J. Stone. They were married on June 3, 1996, in a beautiful ceremony at Partridge Berry Inn that combined their two families and five children – Chere, Brandon, Heather, Megan and Patrick. Alice has been the love of his life for 32 years, and their family has grown to now include 12 beloved grandchildren and one very beloved dog, Bailey. David, along with his wife, was a communicant and active parishioner of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church.
Early in his career, David worked as a dispatcher for Walsh Trucking and Consolidated Freightways. He went on to spend many years working in the banking industry before being employed by Cingular Wireless. Most recently, he enjoyed part-time employment through Green Thumb. He was a past Commander of the Sons of the American Legion, and as a proud member of the Color Guard, he played the snare drum during parades and at local events. He contributed his time to various legion functions and helped with fundraising efforts by playing jamborees. He was a member of the VFW, and he also participated in fundraising efforts to support Special Religious Education, a cause very dear to both him and Alice.
David enjoyed playing golf and looked forward to the tournaments sponsored by Joe’s Tavern at the C-Way Golf Club in Clayton where he played with his stepsons, stepson-in-law and brothers-in-law. He also enjoyed playing at the VFW tournaments held at Tomacy’s Golf Course in Adams. In addition to playing golf, he enjoyed watching golf on TV and was also a long-time, dedicated fan of NY Giants football. He loved watching The Food Network and cooking shows which led to his wife’s good-natured teasing that they weren’t meant to be spectator sports.
Above all else, as instilled in him by his parents, David had a deep and abiding love for family. He cherished family traditions like enjoying his mom’s Sunday sauce with family after Mass, her Italian cookie making at Christmastime and summertime cookouts in the garage on Bellew Ave. He loved Sunday visits, clambakes and watching games and pay-per-views at the home of his brother and sister-in-law, Mel and Rose. And he loved the large annual Easter egg hunt for the grandkids, nieces and nephews at his mother-in-law Katherine Clark’s home. He treasured holiday celebrations, spending time with loved ones and friends and lingering over a meal while enjoying wonderful company and conversation. He reveled in the excitement and accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. He was a very proud husband, father, grandfather and brother.
David will be deeply missed by his family and many dear friends. And while his loss will leave an incredible hole in our hearts, we will try to fill it with our precious memories and all the stories we will continue sharing as we celebrate his full and meaningful life.
David is survived by his loving wife, Alice Busler (Watertown, NY); daughter and son-in-law, Chere and Doug Phelps (Huntersville, NC); stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Brandon and Amy Stone (Watertown, NY); stepdaughter and stepson-in-law, Heather and Chip Makuch (Carthage, NY); stepdaughter, Megan Gibbs (New Durham, NH); stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Patrick and Laura Stone (Clifton Park, NY); grandchildren, Zachary and Skyler Phelps, Kendal (predeceased), Jonah and Gavin Stone, Hannah and Emma Makuch, Michael, Joshua, Austin and Caleb Gibbs, Colin and Lily Stone; brother and sister-in-law, Melvin, Jr. and Rose Busler (Watertown, NY); brother, Richard Busler (FL); nephew and Godson, Melvin Busler III (Dunedin, FL); nephew, Matthew Busler (Spencerport, NY). Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021, at Reed & Benoit Funeral Home. A funeral Mass will follow 11 a.m. Friday, April 16, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church beginning.
In David’s name, the family welcomes donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 (stjude.org for online donations); Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, 320 W. Lynde St., Watertown, NY 13601 (olshparish.org for online donations) or the Melanoma Research Alliance (give.curemelanoma.org for online donations)
Online condolences may be made at www.reedbenoit.com.
To learn more about melanoma and its prevention, please visit the Melanoma Research Alliance at curemelanoma.org.