Eugene Francis Busch, 96

Eugene Francis Busch, 96, passed away peacefully at home on November 7, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.

Gene was born August 19, 1927 in Kimberly, Wisconsin, to Henry and Minnie (Ebben) Busch. Growing up, he attended Holy Name School and served as an altar boy, and attained the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Gene enlisted in the Army Air Corps while still in high school, and, after graduation, served in the occupation forces in Germany. Following his service, he enrolled at St. Norbert College, graduating with a degree in mathematics. Gene met the love of his life, Lois Merdinger, on a blind date, and in 1952 they were married and shortly thereafter drove west to begin their life adventure in California.

Gene worked as an aerospace engineer for AirResearch (Garrett Corporation), for many years leading the preliminary design unit in the heat transfer division. In this role, he contributed to the development of systems for the Gemini and Apollo rocket programs and many other projects, including the SR-71 (Blackbird) spy aircraft.

Gene and Lois raised their two children, Christopher and Victoria, in Redondo Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula suburbs of Los Angeles. After retiring, they moved to Fallbrook, California, where they spent most of their retirement years until relocating to Indiana to live with their daughter.

Gene is survived by his son, Christopher, and his daughter, Victoria and her husband, Peter Jespersen, as well as five grandchildren: Antonia (Timothy) Seman, Mariele and Brendan Busch, Garret and Andrew Jespersen, and one great-grandchild, Maria Seman.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 62 years, Lois, in 2014, his daughter-in-law, Lorna, in 2020, sisters Nancy, Genevieve, and Marcella, and his brother Richard (“John”).

Gene was a man of deep, quiet faith, who loved his family and devoted his life to supporting, encouraging and being truly present with us as our lives unfolded. He always encouraged us to “look on the bright side,” and his smiling face, love of life, and loving support of his family guide us as we continue our family journey. “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” We love you, Dad.

A private memorial service and interment will take place at Eternal Hills Cemetery in Oceanside, California at a later date.

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