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Leota M. Busch, 99, of Jefferson City, passed away Tuesday, February 15, 2011, peacefully in the comfort of her home. She was the longtime owner of Busch's Florist. She was born the only child of the late Elwood and Myrtle Williamson Freeman in Wellsville, Missouri, on August 9, 1911. Growing up in this little Missouri town, one of the things she enjoyed most was riding her horse "Bob" to school and back. As a young lady, Leota liked to go out and dance on the weekends in Jefferson City with her special group of friends from the Missouri Highway Department, where she worked as a Secretary from 1930-1941. On one of those outings, she was tagged to dance by a young man named Arthur Busch. It was war time in the early 40's and Art was getting ready to be shipped over to the European Theatre to serve in the U.S. Army. Leota went to visit Art in St. Louis before his deployment and on the morning of October 6, 1941, Art asked Leota the big question. They were married that afternoon and soon after Art went to Germany and Leota returned to Jefferson City, as she called it "a war bride". While Art was off to war Leota stepped in and ran the family business, Busch's Florist until her husband returned home from war two years later. She and Art worked together side by side at Busch's for almost 50 years. Through those years they developed their florist into one of the Top 100 FTD shops out of 25,000 worldwide. Whether it be a unique floral piece to celebrate the birth of a new baby, a bride's special wedding bouquet or a sympathy arrangement for a dear friend, Leota always took pride in every arrangement she designed. After Art's death in 1990, Leota went on to operate Busch's Florist through its 105th year. After selling the business in 1996, Leota continued to do floral designs for another eight years. During her almost 70 years at Busch's, Leota was most proud to be selected to decorate the Missouri Governor's Mansion and the Missouri Capitol during Christmas and for the numerous Missouri Governor Inaugurations. She loved working with her extended family, all the Busch's staff over the years and she relished in the smile of their satisfied customers. She always looked forward to Valentine's Day and working with all the Jefferson City fireman who were extra drivers. When asked recently who her favorite customer was, she said "Everyone who liked flowers, especially Sam Cook". A huge University of Missouri football fan, she and Art had season tickets for over 50 years. Leota was full of wit. She liked a good joke, as well as she could tell a good joke. She was always full of energy and willing to try something new. At age 86, she was stopped for doing 85 m.p.h. on Hwy. 54 by MHP officer M. Knapp. At age 88, she took a snowmobile cruise in Colorado with her friends at the Classic Club. At age 91, she road on a Harley Davidson motorcycle for the first time. She enjoyed traveling with Art and spending time with her friends golfing at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club. She always looked forward to fishing with Vivian Hayes at Busch's Lake. An avid dog lover, she found great companionship in her last years with her little dog, Missy. Although she and Art never had their own children, they both enjoyed all the special times they spent with their nieces: Mary Jane and Carolyn, nephews: Steve and Mickey, and the neighbor's children: Chuck Hemmel and Ruthie Hemmel. She cherished the daily calls from her longtime friend, Jim Anderson, and the frequent visits by her neighbors Kit and Joann Royer. She truly appreciated Amparo Thomas of Central Trust for overseeing the quality care she received, from all the ladies who provided her with the love and attention needed to live in the comfort of ones home during these last years. Before she was homebound, Leota enjoyed going to First Baptist Church, where she was a member and looked forward to the Council of Clubs Annual Fashion Show, along with Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce's Annual Gala, where she was honored in 1996. Leota is proof you can pack a lot into a century of life. She was a true lady and a wonderful friend to all who knew her. She is survived by two nephews: Steve (Ann) Busch of Kansas City and Bob (Helen) Busch of Junction City, Wisconsin; two nieces: Carolyn (John) Klovstad of McKinney, Texas and Mary Jane (Richard) Murphy of Prince George, Virginia; cousins: Wilma Smith of Kansas City and Judy Olsen of Lee's Summit; and a host of great friends. Friends will be received from 12:00 - 2:00 p.m., Sunday, February 20, 2011, at the Houser-Millard Funeral Home, where funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Doyle Sager officiating. Interment will follow in the Riverview Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Old Munichburg Association, In Memory of Arthur and Leota Busch, P.O. Box 105806, Jefferson City, MO 65110. Arrangements are under the direction of HOUSER-MILLARD Funeral Directors, 2613 W. Main, (573) 636-3838. Condolences may be left for the family online at www.millardfamilychapels.com.