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Published: Tuesday, 12/5/2000

Crop talk enlivened farmer, bus driver

KALIDA - Leo H. Buss, a retired farmer who continued to work until about a year ago despite chronic health problems, died Saturday of congestive heart failure in St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima. He was 75.

His son, Ronald, said his father enjoyed the seasonal rhythms of life on a farm, something that became engrained in him while growing up on his family's farm here.

“He was someone who liked to just chat,'' his son said. “If you wanted to talk about farming, he was there to lend an ear and join the conversation.

“He didn't get too excited unless you talked about the crops growing. That gave him a twinkle in his eye. As far as getting worked up too much, you didn't see that. He was kind of laid back. He enjoyed nature.''

Born in Kalida, he worked for other farmers while a teenager. He entered the Army during World War II, serving briefly in Germany before the war ended.

For a time he and his older brother rented other farmland. But eventually Mr. Buss left after his brother inherited the family farm. With only 80 acres, the farm was too small to support two families. Mr. Buss's brother had 10 children of his own.

After marrying Rosemary B. Ricker in 1952, Mr. Buss and his wife moved to Columbus Grove where they rented a farm for about eight years. She died in 1994.

“Dad farmed and had some dairy cows,'' Mr. Buss said. “He also raised pigs and chickens.''

The family rented another farm in Ottawa for about 15 years before returning to Kalida. They had tried to buy a farm in Ottawa, but his health problems proved to be an obstacle to getting financing, his son said.

Over the years, Mr. Buss had three heart bypass surgeries.

To supplement his farm income, Mr. Buss was a bus driver for the Kalida Local Schools from about 1965 to 1972. He also worked for the former A & D Feed Mill, where he ground feed for livestock.

He retired from full-time work in 1992 but continued to do field work for an area dairy farmer.

He was a member of St. Michael's Catholic Church, the American Legion, and the Eagles.

Surviving are his sons, Ronald and Randy; daughters, Diane Leatherman, Sharon Buss, Donna Brecht, and Joyce Buss; sisters, Micki Pohl, Sally Goedde, and Rose Matthews; eight grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Michael's Catholic Church, Kalida. The body is in the Love Funeral Home, Ottawa.

The family requests tributes to the Kalida Emergency Medical Services, the West Central Ohio Heart Center, the church, or a charity of the donor's choice.

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