John Ray Busby, 85, of Mendenhall, MS passed from this life into the arms of his Lord and Savior on December 19, 2016. He was born on January 2, 1931 to the late Carey and Erma Thames Busby in Magee, MS. John was introduced to what would become a lifelong passion for the sport of football as a left tackle for the Magee High School Trojans. He excelled with a special talent earning him a full football scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi, which he declined, to proudly serve his country by joining the United States Air Force. His military commitment included four years of active service during the time of the Korean War as a communication specialist. He would often reminisce of riding in the belly of an airplane over the Mediterranean Sea and sleeping in the overhead cargo compartment. His active military duty was followed by six years in the Mississippi Air National Guard. His passion for learning was a match for his quest for knowledge. He graduated from Draughn's Business College, Hinds Junior College, and the University of Mississippi School of Banking. His work ethic spanned across various business throughout his professional career. As a young man, he became a special agent with the Illinois Central Railroad in New Orleans, LA, followed by his return to Jackson, MS, as a information specialist with the United States Property Fiscal Office. John began an extensive career in the banking industry as a bank examiner with the state of Mississippi. In June 1967, he was prompted to move back to his home county when he began a 22 year career at Peoples Bank in Mendenhall, MS. During his service to the bank, he made many lifelong friends with whom he enjoyed in depth conversations offering advice, whether solicited or unsolicited, while priding himself on always telling the truth. In 1989, upon retirement as a vice president from Peoples Bank, he traded his daily suit and tie for casual attire to begin his most joyous role as a doting "Poppa" to his loving grandchildren. John would say his best years were retirement years as he spent countless moments making cherished memories with his greatest prides and joys, the grandchildren whom he lovingly gave of himself unselfishly. John was admittedly a self made coach offering winning strategies from his favorite chair while cheering for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and NASCAR's Carl Edwards. No worries for Dak and the Cowboys as John will most assuredly be cheering them on as he oversees them from his eternal sky box on Super Bowl Sunday.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church, Mendenhall, MS since 1967 where he served as a deacon and active member of his Sunday school Class. John's devout faith and Christian belief could be easily seen as he studied the bible daily. He was a lifelong faithful servant in the Lord's army. He was a member of the Free Masons and the Wahabi Shrine Club.
On June 17, 1950, John married his true love, Lerah Ponder Busby, with whom he shared a great devotion for 66 years as they were soul mates and best friends. With great pride and joy they welcomed their pair of girls as he was their ultimate role model. In addition to his honey, Lerah, he is survived by daughters, Phyllis Busby Fitzgerald, Mendenhall, MS, grandson Lane Fitzgerald, Cleveland, MS, future son-in-law James Sills, New Hebron, MS and daughter, Lisa Busby Wester, son-in-law Ken Wester, grandsons Jonathan and Reeves, granddaughter Peyton, all of Bloomington, IL and granddaughter Neely Wester, Fairfax, VA. Survivors also include: sisters, Jean Gilmore, Pearl, MS and Kathleen Grubbs, Brandon, MS and a host of special nieces, nephews, sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his brother Burnell Busby, Pearl, MS and his sister Garaleen Blakeney, Magee, MS.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, from 5:00-8:00 in the evening at Tutor Funeral Home, Mendenhall, MS. Services will be held on Thursday, December 22, 2016, at 11:00 a.m., at First Baptist Church, Mendenhall, MS with visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in the Magee City Cemetery, Magee, MS.
Arrangements are entrusted with Tutor Funeral Home of Mendenhall.