John Busch, Former AISC Board Chairman, Dies

John Busch in 1997.

John “Jack” Hilton Busch passed away on June 2. He was 87.

Born October 8, 1927 in East Grand Rapids, Mich., Busch enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating from high school, serving as a First Petty Officer on the U.S.S. Helena in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Following his service, he earned a civil engineering degree from Michigan State University and later earned a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Chicago.

Busch began his structural engineering career with Haven-Busch Company, Inc., before moving on to his own company, Busch Industries, Inc., where he worked on a multitude of domestic and international projects, including the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. A longtime AISC Board member and the Board Chair from 1983 through 1985, he enjoyed his work immensely and retired only a few months before his passing.

Past AISC President, Lou Gurthet, who served as Busch’s Vice President at Haven-Busch Company, recalls Busch’s love of AISC and the structural steel industry: “Jack’s dedication inspired my active participation in AISC and to becoming president of the organization.” 

He was also a member of several professional and community organizations. Busch was passionate about the arts and supported various local, national and international artists, and was involved in bringing the sculpture La Grande Vitesse, by Alexander Calder, to his hometown of Grand Rapids. He was also an avid collector of Western American art and was a member of and contributor to the Charlie Russell Riders Foundation.

Busch is survived by sons Mike, James and Shane, grandsons John Michael Busch and James Busch, Jr. and granddaughter Katherine Busch. He was preceded in death by his wife, Catherine Christie Busch.