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Paul Adelbert Buss Jr.

April 4, 1936 ~ November 16, 2020 (age 84)


Paul Adelbert Buss, Jr., (84), passed away on Monday,  November 16, 2020 after a long battle with cancer. He was born April 4,1936 in the Indian Oases Hospital in Sells, Arizona, on the Papago Reservation, to Paul Adelbert & Edwina Louise (Ockey) Buss, Sr.  He was the eldest of four children. He began his education in a one-room school in Sells, Arizona.  The family moved to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in 1943 where his father was the Ranger.  He was excited to move to San Carlos because he had been told he would be able to learn to fish when he got there.  His mother reported that he practiced casting in his bedroom where he "caught" the curtains, blankets, etc. and then "whacked" holes in them to dislodge the hooks.  For fun he would make his own toys including tops, marbles, rubber band guns and sling-shots, played baseball, football, red rover and hopscotch.  After six years in the one-room schoolhouse in San Carlos, he attended junior and senior high in Globe, Arizona, where he sang in the glee club and was student body president and valedictorian his senior year.  Paul would often play his harmonica to accompany church meetings as there was no piano or other form of music.

Paul was the first missionary to be called from the San Carlos Arizona branch and served in the Texas Spanish American Mission.  In college he was a member of the Student Religious Council, and an officer in Lambda Delta Sigma.  In pursuit of his education in the field of botanical sciences, he attended Arizona State, Utah State, Brigham Young and Iowa State universities, earning bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees.  Paul was a self-described pack rat, hunter and cowboy.  He met Janet Rae Hibbert while working for the forestry department in La Grande, Oregon.  They were married on June 11, 1962 in the Logan Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Paul's career took them to Utah, Washington, and Iowa, finally settling in Dubuque, Iowa where they lived for nearly 50 years and raised their large family.  He worked as the County Health and Zoning Director, concurrently working part-time at Sears, served in multiple church callings, including many years as a temple worker together with Janet, and volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America, being their top popcorn salesman multiple times and earning the Silver Beaver Award. He loved reading, listening to "old time radio" programs, leather and woodworking, fishing with the grandkids, camping & canoeing with the boy scouts, and maintained a Ham radio license.

Paul was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 58 years, Janet, by his parents, Paul & Edwina Buss, infant sons, Brent & Nathan Buss, his brother, Larry Buss, and a daughter in-law Heather Adams Buss.  He is survived by his children Kevin (Arlette Thompson), Vincent (Heather Torrie), Yolanda Fisher (Kenneth),  Debbie James (Clinton), Tricia, Preston, Nanette Sparks (Todd), & Alicia Åhlfors (Rainer), 34 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings Carolyn and Fred (Dirce), as well as nieces and nephews. 

Our family expresses sincere thanks to Envision Hospice and Cove Point for their assistance during this difficult time.  Due to the coronavirus restrictions there will only be a burial at this time, but the family hopes to do an in-person commemoration in the future. In lieu of flowers, feel free to plant a tree or donations may be made to the cancer research of your choice or Humanitarian Services at

Interment will be at Hillcrest Cemetery in La Grande, Oregon.


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