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Bernard Busta

bernard  busta

Bernard “Bernie” James Busta age 81 of Waucoma, IA died Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah, IA.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 22, 2024, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Lucas, with Rev. Nick Radloff celebrating the Mass. Interment will be held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Lawler. Luncheon will be at the Starlite Ballroom following the interment.
Friends may greet the family from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2024, at St. Luke’s Catholic Catholic Church in St. Lucas where there will be a 3:00 p.m. Rosary and a 7:00 p.m. scripture service. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass at the church on Monday.
Bernard James “Bernie” Busta, a cherished husband, father, and pillar of the community, passed away peacefully on April 17, 2024, in Decorah, IA. Born on November 19, 1942, in rural Ft. Atkinson, IA, the son of Edward Sr. and Elizabeth (Heley) Busta. Bernie’s life was a testament to the values of faith, hard work, dedication, and love for family and friends.
Bernie’s early years were spent in the close-knit community of Ft. Atkinson, where he attended Ft. Atkinson High School. It was during this time that a chance encounter at a root beer stand in Calmar would chart the course of his life. It was there that he met the love of his life, Karen Lutkenhaus, as she enjoyed a summer’s day ride in a convertible. Their first date at a bowling alley in Decorah would lead to a lifetime of love and togetherness. The couple was blessed with a loving family of five children: Cindy, Kevin, Tom, Barb, and Sharon.
Together, Bernie and Karen began their journey as farmers, initially north of Little Turkey, then moving to a farm north of Lawler. Eventually, they settled on their forever farm near Little Turkey, where they spent 47 joyous years cultivating the land and nurturing their family. Bernie’s career spanned many years with Case IH in New Hampton, where he earned his way from shop foreman to salesman. Bernie often quipped that “red was the only color to paint a tractor,” a nod to his loyalty to the brand and his role in the agricultural community.
Later, Bernie joined Balik Implement as a salesman, where he continued to serve the farming community until his retirement at the age of 63. His work ethic was unparalleled, true to his word, often putting in long hours, whether it was in the shop, planting, or harvesting his crop. He farmed his own land while maintaining his career, embodying the essence of a true farmer. Bernie’s devotion to the land, his livestock, and his passion for farming was the hallmark of his life.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Bernie was deeply involved in his community. He served on the Turkey Valley School Board for five years and played a pivotal role in the creation of Jackson Heights Golf Course. His love for dance, especially polka, was well-known, as he and Karen traveled across the United States to various polka dances. He was instrumental in planning and the implementation of the Spillville Polka Fest at the Inwood Ballroom in Spillville, IA. Bernie’s grace on the dance floor was often described as “smooth as butter,” a testament to his joy for life and celebration.
In his later years, Bernie found solace and pleasure in gardening. He cultivated large vegetable gardens, not for profit, but to share the bounty with neighbors, family, and friends. Bernie’s generosity was evident as he was often spotted driving around the neighborhood, delivering fresh produce and brightening the days of those around him.
Bernie will be remembered as a loving and friendly man, always ready to lend a hand. His commitment to his faith, family, work, and community was unwavering. His presence will be deeply missed, but his legacy will continue to live on through the lives of those he touched.
Bernie is survived by his wife, Karen Busta of Waucoma, IA; two sons, Kevin Busta of West Union, IA, Tom (Suzanne) Busta of Adel, IA, and their children, Morgan, Brynn, and Dylan Busta; three daughters, Cindy Busta of Waverly, IA and her son, J.C. Busta and grandson, Bryson Jacque; Barb (Joe) Weigel of Cedar Falls, IA, and their children, Noah and Alex Weigel; Sharon (Troy) Collins of Waverly, IA, and their children Jenna and Kyrie Collins; two brothers, Arnold (Sandy) Busta of Lawler, IA, Jim (Mary Lou) Busta of Onalaska, WI; one sister, Darlene Gebel of New Hampton, IA; two sisters-in-law, Geraldine Busta of Lawler, IA, Angie Busta of Ft. Atkinson, IA.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Edward Busta Jr, and Walter Busta; three sisters, Lorraine (Ed) Panos, Gladys (Richard) Balik, and Elizabeth “Bets” Busta.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Bernie….you were a Great Man! The BUSTA BOYS! You and Arnie were so Good to me over the years. My Deepest Sympathy to Bernie’s Family. May you Rest In Peace my Friend!

  2. Sending prayers to his family. Was always great to see him at the golf course! Jeanne and David Roder

  3. My sympathies to the family. Bernie was fun to be around and I enjoyed having “treats” with him and several Hawkeye football games. Such a good man.

  4. Our sympathy to Karen and family. Dan worked with him and always had fun talking czech.

  5. My sympathy to all of Bernie’s family. He was my classmate in high school and always the life of the party. Florence Leibold Johnson

  6. Our Deepest Sympathy to all of Bernies families. Prayers & Thoughts are with you during this difficult time of loss. RIP Bernard!
    James & Lyn (Meissen) Bailey

  7. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Karen and family. Bernie always had something to say.
    Randy & Mary Jane Leach

  8. Our deepest sympathy Karen and family . Bernie was a fun guy and would help anyone – rest easy cuz- you will be missed❤️

  9. Cindy & JC-
    Sending our love and deepest sympathy to you and your family. -Tom, Jessi and Hunter Fasse

  10. Karen and families, thoughts and prayers to all of you at this time of loss. Treasure the memories and continue to keep Bernie alive in your hearts. He will be missed

  11. I never had the pleasure to meet Mr. Busta but his daughter, Cindy, is my daughter’s best friend. They met while in college in Dubuque and Jennifer brought her home to meet me and the love affair with the entire Lock and Sessions family began. After all these years of memories, nothing has changed. I always loved it when Cindy would say to Jen: “be nice to your mom”. I always agreed with Cindy and consider her a second daughter. My thoughts are with the entire Busta family. Annette Sessions Lock

  12. We, Mary Lou and I and our family, extend thoughts and prayers to the Karen Busta Family on the loss of Bernie. I will always treasured the time I spent with my brother Bernie. He was always so good to me in so many ways.

    Bernie and Karen loved to dance. Over the years, Bernie and Karen were Jim Busta Band “faithful fans and followers” for so many of the events that my band played for. Bernie and Karen, and another couple, LeRoy and Shirley, went to so many of the festivals, dances, public events that my polka band and other polka bands performed at. Their summer/fall weekends often involved going to and dancing at so many polka festivals. The four of them were/are so well know by so many in the polka world.

    Likewise, I really enjoyed my visits with Bernie on the farm. He was so proud of the farm and all it represented. I also have known Bernie to be a strong man of his faith.

    I take this time to acknowledge and thank Karen for being such a great supporter of Bernie – especially during the last several years when he had significant health issues. Thanks Karen.

    Rest in Peace my brother Bernie.
    – Jim & Mary Lou Busta, Onalaska, Wisconsin


  14. Barb and Family, Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Sending you thoughts and prayers. Love, Jolene and Jerry

  15. Deepest of Condolences and prayers to Karen and the Busta family. May the memories give healing, wholeness and in time give way to being stronger than you were before.

  16. Karen and Busta Family, So sorry to hear of your loss. We always enjoyed Bernie&you, LeRoy&Shirley at the dances when we got together. May he rest in peace. MN dancing friends, Denny&Dotty VonBank

  17. To Karen Busta and family. I am so sorry to hear Bernie passed away. I have so many good memories of our dancing and gatherings at polka fests. May all the good memories Help you through this difficult time. God Bless all of you. Dancing friend Margaret Drentlaw Minnesota

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