James T. "Bus" Keown


unknown - May 19, 2011

James T. "Bus" Keown, 99, of Jefferson City, passed away Thursday, May 19, 2011, at Villa Marie Skilled Nursing Facility. He was born April 4, 1912, in Jefferson City, son of Bartholomew Walter Keown and Rose Anna (nee Nacy) Keown. He was nick-named at birth by his aunt Mary "Mamie" (nee Nacy) Johnson when she observed, " Now that boy is a buster." The name stuck for the rest of his long life, sometimes shortened to Bus. Bus was educated at St. Peter Elementary School and graduated from Jefferson City High School in 1930 during the depths of the Great Depression. After seeking employment he went to work at Scruggs - Guhleman Lumber Company owned by his uncle Clifford Scruggs in 1932. There, excepting his service in World War II, he remained for the rest of his working life. On November 9, 1940, he was united in marriage to Mary J. (nee Kehoe) Keown, who preceded him in death on December 8, 1984. Buster remarried Margaret Mary "Marge" (nee Mullens) Norfleet in 1988, who also preceded him in death on July 28, 2008. Buster served during World War II with the United States Army Air Force in the Ninth Tactical Air Force in the 70th Fighter Wing, 474th Fighter Group, 430th Fighter Squadron also known as the "Backdoor" Gang. His rank was Technical Sergeant and he served as a line crew mechanic chief, charged with maintenance of the famous P-38's of that era. His travels took him from basic training in California to serve in the only P-38 fighter group to be stationed in continental Europe, flying tactical support mission right behind the advancing American First and Third Armies. Bus being thoroughly Irish, it was often hard to tell who the enemy was; Germany or England. Everyone that knew Bus will remember all of the great stories he had to tell about his experiences during the war. Buster was a member of Beta Fraternity, the Optimist Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Eagles Club and The VFW. He was a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. He is survived by one brother, Marvin J. Keown of Jefferson City; one sister, Dorothy B. Hager; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Marian Fricke on January 20, 1996, Rose Ann (Thrash) Winkelmann on April 20, 2008; and one brother, Raymond Taylor Keown on May 20, 1933. Buster died peacefully at Villa Marie with the mental faculties to supervise the changing out of an engine on a P-38. He will be so very missed by his family that words cannot express. Bus died as he livedÖthere was no grey, everything was black or white with a keen sense of wit and humor bestowed on very few. Friends will be received from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday at the Houser-Millard Funeral Home, where a prayer service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 23, 2011 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, with Fr. Benjamin Nwosu officiating. Interment with full military honors will follow in Riverview Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Helias Foundation. Arrangements are under the direction of HOUSER-MILLARD Funeral Directors, 2613 West Main Street, (573) 636-3838. Condolences may be left for the family online at

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