Ben Bussey, a depression era child, was born on January 4, 1926, in Jacksonville, Florida, and was raised in St. Mary, Georgia.
He began working at the age of 9 as a school janitor for $8 a month, and then contracted to run the school furnaces. When his family moved to Waycross, Georgia, he had a paper route until he entered the Navy at the age of 17. As a member of “The Greatest Generation,” he served in the United States Navy during WW II as a radioman first class on a light aircraft carrier, the USS Monterey, and a destroyer escort, the USS John M. Bermingham.
As A WW II veteran, Ben attended FSU on the GI Bill and lived in the Dale Mabry barracks and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. While attending FSU, he met Violet Bateman of Bristol, Florida, whom he married in 1949. This 46-year marriage was blessed with four sons: Charles (Stephanie) of Mobile, Alabama; Karl of Houston, Texas, Wayne (deceased); and Paul (deceased). Violet and Ben had three grandchildren: Neal Bussey, Ross Bussey, and Tara Bussey Jennings (Joshua); and two great-grandchildren, Joshua Wilson and Kayleighanna Jennings.
Ben loved motorcycles, watching golf, and fishing on the Tom Bigbee River. In the fall, Saturdays were dedicated to FSU football, and in the summer, to the Atlanta Braves. His passion was following the stock market.
Ben worked as an accountant and retired from the State of Alabama after working as an administrator in the state hospital system. Upon his retirement in 1980, he and Violet relocated to Calhoun County where he was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Blountstown, serving as a Deacon, Sunday school teacher and choir member. He was a founding member of the Grumpy Old Men’s Club, a community service group dedicated to service of the elderly. He was a Lions Club officer and member for many years.
Violet passed away unexpectedly in 1994. In February 1995, he married Shirley Johnson Stone. Through this marriage he gained three step-daughters: Janice Kirkland (Dennis), Patsy Parker (Joe), and Linda Arrant (Steve); and became Papa Ben to six step-grandchildren and sixteen step-great-grandchildren.
In his twilight years, Ben enjoyed smoking a pipe, spoiling Sassy cat and eating Babe’s (Shirley) cooking.
The family wishes to express gratitude to family friend Darryl Taylor for his faithful visiting.
At his home on Sunday, January 13, Ben returned to his Heavenly Father.
Services will be held Tuesday, January 15, at 10 a.m. CST at Peavy Funeral Home and interment will follow at the Lake Mystic Cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at Peavy Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Convenant Hospice.
Peavy Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements (ph. 674-2266).