Richard P. Busch, 91, preparator for the North Museum, naturalist, carver, friend to all

By on November 14, 2018

Richard P. Busch, 91, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully at his home in Lititz surrounded by family on Nov. 9, 2018.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Joyce Weber Busch. Rich was born on June 23, 1927, and raised in West Reading. He was the second of four sons of Leonard and Myrle (Schlegel) Busch.

He was a 1945 graduate of West Reading High School. Rich started his working career as a landscaper due to his love and talent in creating an appealing backdrop of trees, shrubs and fragrant annuals and perennials.

In 1964, Rich was hired by Franklin & Marshall College, where he was the preparator for the North Museum, in Lancaster. Rich was an everyday fixture at North Museum. You could always find him in his basement office with his apron on, working on countless projects for new exhibits. Rich was a naturalist and could speak about many subjects. He would lead countless groups of school children on tours, relaying copious amounts information and knowledge about the native flora and fauna, Indian digs and a favorite elementary school topic: dinosaurs. He welcomed and engaged any question he was asked.

His position of museum preparator included a little bit of everything, from designing and hanging the exhibits, to feeding and caring for the bevy of reptiles and other living creatures residing and being rehabilitated in the museum, to fixing everything and anything that was in need of repair, which included the slippery soles of a pair of shoes for the museum’s secretary. Rich cared deeply for the museum’s “menagerie” of animals. Members of the community would constantly be bringing in turtles, snakes, bugs, birds, and anything that they came across that was injured and needed some tender loving care. Rich took them all in, despite the species, and fixed them up until they could be released into the wild again. If they could not be released, he provided a permanent home for them.

Amongst Rich’s many talents was carving. His carvings, mostly made out of wood and soap stone, were inspired by his love of nature and including birds, animals and fish. In his later years, he started to carve more whimsical figures, such as dragons and winged horses. He was adept at creating casts of various fossils, such as trilobites, and artifacts, which became popular items for sale at the North Museum’s gift shop. Rich was also the head of the Pennsylvania Board of Taxidermy Licensing for many years.

Rich was a friend to all. He was a true Renaissance man. His friendship and kindness touched so many lives. His love and gentleness for all creatures both great and small was legendary. He will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved him. The world was a far better place with him in it.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter: Rebecca (Rick) of Palm Court, Fla.; sons: Richard Jr. (Mary) of West Chester; and Brian of Virginia Beach, Va.; a stepdaughter: Terri (Robert) of Lititz; four granddaughters; one grandson; and his brother: Donald, of Mohnton.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers: Leonard and Gerald (Jerry).

Interment will be held privately at the convenience of the family.

The family wishes to recognize the wonderful caregivers at Hospice and Community Care for their kindness and excellent care of Rich.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Rich’s name to the Raven Ridge Wildlife Center at

To submit an online condolence, visit Arrangements by the Cremation Society of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg.

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One Comment

  1. Joni Boyer

    November 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I am so sorry about your loss.
    God be with you.
    Joni Frysinger Boyer

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