"Busch Voigts, 100, died January 24, 2011, in Sun City, AZ. The grandson of two pioneer Johnson County families, he was born Nov. 16, 1910, to Ella Adeline Busch of Lenexa, an accomplished pianist, and Herman John Voigts, of Leawood, a cattleman.
"At 18, astride a horse, Busch observed a biplane buzzing the family farm, which piqued a lifelong love affair with flying. In 1929, he soloed at Fairfax, the nearest airport. Disapproving, his father sent him off to the University of Kansas unaware that young Busch was flying whenever and wherever he could, even selling his overcoat for an hour of flying time. He transferred to the University of Arizona in Tuscon, where he joined Sigma Chi, and could fly at all times of the year.
"In 1933, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Air Reserve Corps and was back in Kansas City flying PT-3s. During the 1934-35 Depression years, he was barnstorming throughout the West in a Ford Trimotor, charging $1 a ride to the 10,000 people who flocked to landing strips to see "aeroplanes."
"By July 1935, he had accrued 1445 hours of flying time, he was hired as a co-pilot by Transcontinental and Western Air in Kansas City. During his 35- year career with TWA, Captain Busch Voigts served as Chief Pilot in the training department and, on two different occasions, flew with Howard Hughes, who owned the airline, resulting in a lifetime of funny stories.
"Busch was selected to fly presidential and campaign charters Truman (1951), Eisenhower (1952, 53, 54), Nixon (1952), Adlai Stevenson (1952), as well as a State Department tour of the USA by Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. In 1955, he piloted the TWA inaugural polar flight from London to Los Angeles.
"From 1956-58, he was one of 23 pilots of German heritage selected to train pilots for Lufthansa as the airline was activated after WWII. He returned to TWA in 1959 to pilot the jet --- the Boeing 707, which he flew internationally until he retired in 1970. His final flight, two days before mandatory retirement on his 60th birthday, was around the world. He had been #1 on the TWA seniority list for three years. He had a total TWA flying time of 27,686:17 hours. He used to laugh that he could have lived anywhere in the world and chose to stay on the corner plot at 103rd and Lee Blvd., "caddy corner" from where he was reared.
"A big man with a booming voice, ready smile, and the bluest of eyes, Busch was an outdoorsman, a horseman. In his youth, he played polo, and was a member of the Mission Valley Hunt. For decades, he served as Governor for the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show. He was a past president of the Saddle and Sirloin Club, and as a member of the Mounted Patrol, proudly carried the American flag for years on his horse, Blackie.
"Most of all, he was a family man. Preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Katherine Voigts and Anna Lois Voigts Dubach. He leaves his wife of 72 years, Lucille Newcomer Voigts, of Sun City. After they eloped, July 10, 1939, a headline on the front page of the Kansas City Times read, "Pilot Lands for Bride." They have three children: Madelyn Moran (Henry), of Overland Park, KS; Busch Voigts, Jr. (Mary), of Reno, NV; and Marcia Rhodus (John), of Surprise, AZ. They have six grandchildren: Jennifer Voigts Sancya, of Chicago; Molly Rhodus Braddy of Seattle; John Franklin Rhodus, Jr., of San Francisco; Busch Voigts III and Christopher Buholts Voigts, both of Charlotte, NC; and Saramolly Moran, of Tarrytown, NY. They also have six great grandchildren.
"Busch was past chairman of the board of St. John's Methodist Church and the Sun City Christian Church. He was past member of Indian Hills Country Club, Leawood Country Club, the Kansas City Club and its 611 inner club as well as Palmbrook Country Club in Sun City. His professional affiliations included Quiet Birdmen, the OX-5 Club, ALPA and TARPA. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date at the Saddle and Sirloin Club."