Friday, May 27, 2011

Cheyenne J. (Thompson) Buss

On Friday, May 27, 2011, just three months, nineteen days and five hours after the passing of “the love of her life,” Cheyenne June Buss took her last breath, surrounded by her family in the red house on Spring Street that her husband built.

Born in Shawano, Wisconsin, on June 16, 1929, at the height of the depression, to Robert and Hildegard Thompson, their first-born daughter understood the true meaning of hard work and dedication. Over the years, many people would ask Cheyenne how she got her unique name. She cherished telling the story how her father, Robert, was a rodeo rider out West and his favorite city was Cheyenne. When he met and married Hildegard he had insisted that she name their first-born child (no matter the gender), after the city of Cheyenne. So began the story of “OUR” Cheyenne.

Times were difficult. The Thompson family had now grown by the birth of son Bobby. They did their best by traveling west through the dust bowls to California, only to find that Wisconsin was where their heart and future lie and settled in Appleton. The Thompson clan grew by two more. Cheyenne now had a loving sister, Shirlee, and a younger kid brother, Jimmy. Working hard all winter, springtime brought the family back to the Bodart Shows for the carnival season. Cheyenne, a third generation “carnie,” was lulled to sleep on the Ferris wheel. As she grew into a strong-willed, hardworking young woman, her father gave her her own “joint,” a pitch 'til you win game, with all profits going into the family fund. Little did she know that in 1947, while she was hard at work hauling her own tent at each stop, there was a handsome red-haired man watching her every move.

It was in Shawano that Robert “Red” Buss joined the Bodart Shows and after a short, but sweet courtship they were married on April 17, 1948, in Appleton. It was with the birth of their daughter, Kay Mary, that Dad Thompson decided it was time to stop traveling with the carnival and the trailer court and grocery store was bought. Two years later, in 1950, Bob, Cheyenne and Kay Mary came to Racine to seek their own future.

Working side-by-side with their daughter on an army cot, Cheyenne knew how to swing a hammer and plumb a wall. The first house they built on Ohio, which is still standing, was the start of R. J. Buss Builders. With Bob as president and Cheyenne as Vice-President/Secretary this team would build both residential and commercial properties throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Cheyenne would never admit to it, but both her daughters, Kay and Eva, believe that their mother was ahead of her time as the “working Mom” at home where both Cheyenne and Bob had their offices.

With each achievement that Bob made -- both in the building industry and in philanthropic organizations like the Kiwanis -- if Bob was making the speech, Cheyenne had written it, and if Bob was flipping pancakes at Pancake Day, Cheyenne was pouring coffee. She was his ‘Cherokee,’ the one who supported her husband’s business endeavors, hunted with him out west and went on goose hunts in the Horicon all together with their daughter Eva Linn in the motor home.

Cheyenne also had her own personal achievements. In the mid '50s and '60s her name would appear in the Journal Times as a top kegler at J & W Lanes on Main Street, Douglas Bowl and with the Shoop Park Ladies. She tried golf, and told the family of her hole-in-one at Johnson’s, the only reason there wasn’t two is because she hung up her clubs because there were homes to be built while the weather was good. Her daughters will always remember their trips to Broadway musicals and the latest musical movie releases.

Along with hunting, Bob and Cheyenne enjoyed building and spending time at their cottage on Anderson Lake. Their motor home trips together with family members including the Kruegers and the Ferrons. Cheyenne always spoke about their motor home trip to Manitoba traveling to the family home of Dr. and Mrs. Lou Floch. Business friends soon became personal friends; Jack and Eileen Rogan are just one example, creating uncountable memories in Mexico and Vegas.

But with all their business successes and list of friends, it was family that always came first. It was always breakfast with their daughters, and dinner was always held until Daddy walked in the door. Their one and only granddaughter, “our little love” Tiffany, who remembers faking sick from school to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s was then the one in the end who stayed by their sides as their own personal nurse. Cheyenne’s true joy for the past 16 years was having her own “commune” on Spring Street with Tiffany, Josh, Logan and Peyton as their steadfast neighbors and daily dose of love.

She also cherished living vicariously by watching her lovely, red-haired and talented great-granddaughter Peyton dance for the past nine years. You could find her most weekends as the loudest cheerleader at numerous soccer games of curly-haired Logan and Peyton’s over the years. The many visits to their home away from home at Eva’s in Green Bay will always be cherished. Kay has always credited her mom for her love of husband and family, and the business savvy to succeed. Cheyenne taught the four girls in her life the importance of the unconditional love of family and friends. She is the woman who longed to be with her husband, but didn’t stop until her work here was done.

Cheyenne has now joined her husband of 62 earthly years, R.J. She leaves behind her two daughters to carry on all the learned traditions, Kay (Paul) Dawson and Eva Buss. Her next-door neighbors and loving granddaughter, Tiffany (Tiffer), her “grandson” Joshua, (Josher) Baumstark and much-loved great-grandchildren, Logan and Peyton. Known as Toots to her sister Shirlee (Michael) Driskel, and baby brother Jimmy Thompson. Cheyenne was preceded in death by her husband Robert J. Buss, brother Robert Thompson and sister Mae Krueger. She will be sadly missed by her Buss sisters and brother and of course, the “outlaw” brothers and sister in-laws. Aunt Cheyenne leaves behind many nieces and nephews. Special heartfelt thanks to Pat and Debbie Dashnier of Green Bay for putting your life on hold to join your second family as we eased our loved one to eternal life. And last, but not least; their friends that she and Bob treasured throughout the years.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 4, 2011, at 10 a.m., at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 3350 LaSalle St. Interment will follow at West Lawn Memorial Park. Relatives and friends may meet with the family on Friday, June 3, 2011, at the funeral home from 5 until 8 p.m and Saturday at the church from 9 a.m. until time of service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Hospice Alliance.

The family wishes to express deepest, heartfelt thanks to the entire team of Hospice Alliance, and the spiritual guidance of Pastor H. Kamps and Pastor Gary Ruckman. For truly caring, the family thanks Dr. Michael Mullane. Cheyenne’s final journey would never have been same without each of you.

803 Main St., Racine    (262) 634-7888

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