A funeral service for Betty Ruth Bussard of Tarkio, Missouri, was held Sunday, May 20, 2018, at the First Baptist Church in Tarkio, conducted by Reverend Glenn Scott. Interment was held at Home Cemetery, Tarkio. Services were under the direction of Davis Funeral Home, Tarkio.
Betty, the daughter of Merrill Alvin and Catherine Ruth (Grimmett) Johnson, was born September 13, 1942, in Maryville, Missouri. She attended West Nodaway High School in Burlington Junction, Missouri, where she graduated in 1960. Betty then attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, graduating with a B.S. degree in Business Education in 1964.
Betty started riding horses at the age of three on her family’s farm, the Circle J Ranch. She was a seasoned enough rider at seven years old to participate in a 120 mile trail ride in Red Oak, Iowa. Betty showed quarter horses in 4-H and competed in barrel racing, pole bending, and cutting horse contests in high school rodeo. Betty was known as the “All Around Cowgirl” and in 1957, was formally awarded this title in high school which she retained for three years. Betty earned the reign of the Missouri State Champion High School Rodeo Queen spanning the years of 1958 and 1959. She was also crowned the Tri-State World Championship Rodeo Queen (Fort Madison, Iowa) and the coveted National High School Rodeo Queen (Lewiston, Montana) in 1959. Later, she was also named the Aksarben Rodeo Queen (Omaha, Nebraska). A special memory of Betty’s high school years was riding in the Madison Square Garden’s parade. In college contests where riders were judged on horsemanship, Betty was honored to be awarded “Miss Rodeo Missouri” which gave her the opportunity to compete in “Miss Rodeo America” (Las Vegas, Nevada).
On May 31, 1964, Betty was united in marriage to Gary David Bussard. They made their home in Tarkio and became the parents of two sons, David Keith, 1966, and Michael John, 1968. She devoted her life to her family and friends and was known for her loving and giving heart. Her cowbell could always be heard at her sons’ sporting events.
Betty was a member of the First Baptist Church of Tarkio. She was very involved with the Tarkio Rodeo, Rough Riders and Trick Riding. Betty was a member of Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and was the past president of PEO Chapter FF of Tarkio. Betty lived by the “Golden Rule” and enjoyed playing cards, bridge and other games with friends and family. Betty would always send a card or a note just at the right time to encourage, support, and cheer on her family and friends. Betty passed away Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Rock Port, Missouri, at the age of 75.
In addition to her parents, Betty was preceded in death by Phyllis Buhr George, who was like a sister. Survivors include her husband of 54 years, Gary David Bussard of Tarkio, their oldest son, David Keith Bussard (his wife, Michelle Renee, and their children, Joshua David, and Caitlin McKenzie) of Minot, North Dakota, and their youngest son, Michael John Bussard (his wife, Lisa Jo, and their children, Morgan Elizabeth and Andrew John) of Brentwood, Tennessee. Additional survivors include sister, Carol Catherine Ecker of Gladstone, Missouri, along with nieces and nephews, Jacqueline Marie, Justin Martin, Jonathan Merrill, and Jennifer Michelle. Other special family members to note are Dale Clement, who was like a brother, and his wife, Barbara, and their children, Crystal Rimza and James Clement, along with cousins, Steve George and wife, Mary, and their son, Ty George and his wife, Sandi.
Memorials may be directed to the First Baptist Church or Home Cemetery, Tarkio.  Online condolences may be left at www.minterfuneralchapels.com.