On the evening of Sunday, July 28, 2019, Robert “Bussy” Louis Birt passed away due to complications with his fight against cancer. He was born March 24, 1943 at home in Kennard of Salem Township, to Robert and Violet Birt. Growing up, Bussy spent most of his childhood in Northville, which was a small community approximately 7 miles west of Urbana. As a young child, he attended the Concord schools. As the story is told, Robert aka “Bussy” was given this nickname, by his mother Violet, (shorted from Buster D Davenport) because he was a chubby little baby that was frequently caught crawling up to the table to eat the butter. Bussy was a 1961 graduate of Graham High School. He was in the first four-year class to have graduated, after the consolidation of Westville, St. Paris and Concord schools. While at Graham, he was active in FFA as well as playing football and basketball. Bussy was always a character full of personality. Bussy had a passion for watching NASCAR on television and attending the races. In his free time, he also enjoyed camping, going on cruises with his wife Joanne, going out to dinner with his family and meeting his friends every morning for breakfast.
For most of Bussy’s adult working years he was employed with Navistar. He worked there for 37 years, retiring in 2000. Throughout the years, Bussy’s involvement in the community included the Optimist Club, where he participated in the annual Easter egg hunt and the haunted house at the old ice plant. Bussy was also a board member of the Concord Community Center, responsible for bookings and building maintenance. His family has been long time members of the Urbana Church of Christ in Christian Union.
Bussy’s involvement with the Champaign County Fair began many years before he was ever on the fair board. He was a member of 4H from the ages of 9-17 years old, taking dairy cow projects. In his later years, he was dedicated to supporting his children, Ryan, Tina, Natalie, and Heather, with their prize winning 4H projects. During the summer Bussy’s daughter, Meghan, came to visit and she fondly remembers cruising around with her dad on the golf cart, feeling like a VIP by his side. Bussy was an active fair board member from 1989-2010, representing Concord Township. He was involved in many committees throughout the years, but he was most active in the entertainment and camper parking. Bussy coordinated some of the fair’s big- name- stars such as Trace Adkins and Loretta Lynn. Years ago, the fair was in need of an improved stage for the entertainment and Bussy stepped up to the challenge, engineering a mobile stage which took six months to construct. The stage was a huge undertaking on his part, however it was enjoyed by many for years afterwards. The Champaign County fair has roots that run deep for Bussy, as well as his family. There were many memories created, especially all the meals, pies, and visiting at Grandma and Grandpa Birt’s house. Those times are priceless for his family. He also shared years of fond memories on the fair board with his late friend, Jerry Bostick. Bussy had not missed a Champaign County Fair for 67 years and still volunteered his time and knowledge parking campers. While you’re at the fair this year making your own memories, remember those like Bussy, who have come before you to help make the fair what it is today.
Bussy is preceded in death by both of his parents, Robert and Violet Birt, niece Lori (Pestke) Morris, brother in law Fred Pestke, and his good friend Jerry Bostick. Bussy is survived by his wife Joanne and children: Ryan (April) Birt (Rosewood, OH), Tina (Jimmy) Gilbert (Springfield, OH), Natalie (Brad) Coy (Degraff, OH), Heather Birt-Hall (St. Paris, OH), and Meghan (Doug) Lawrence (Albany, WI). He also is survived by his grandchildren, who he loved to tease and make smile: Bridgett Parm, Dakota Cathey Birt, Ryan Birt Jr., Payton Birt, Breanne Blain, Shelby (Robert) Cottrell, Chevy Gilbert, Lleyton Vanhoose, Sydney Coy, Logan Coy, Addison Bauser, Molly Hall, Jaxon Hall, Emma Miller, Nathan Lawrence, Kalyn Lawrence, and Beau Robert John Lawrence. Bussy was blessed to have 4 great-grandchildren (and one on the way) as well: Hadley Parm, Gunnar Cottrell, Atticus Cottrell, and Arriana Snider. Bussy was also survived by his sisters Phyllis Pestke and Janie (Bill) Armstrong and several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews. Dear to Dad’s heart were his close friends, and a special appreciation for Tom Reid, who took him to several doctor appointments and treatments.
Family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, August 2, 2019 in the Urbana Church of Christ in Christian Union, 1121 N. Main St., Urbana, where a service will be held at 1 p.m. with Pastors Mike Grable, David Vanhoose and Carl Ogden officiating. Burial will follow in Kings Creek Cemetery.