NORCROSS -- Former First Lady of Georgia, Mary Beth Busbee, died on Saturday, March 3, 2012. Born in Ruston, LA on February 16, 1927, Mary Elizabeth Talbot was the sixth child of a country doctor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in biological sciences, and did graduate work in the pathology department at Charity Hospital of Louisiana in New Orleans. After completing her studies, she came to Georgia to work as a medical technician at Athens General Hospital. She married George Busbee in 1949, when he was a law student at the University of Georgia. They moved to Albany, GA in 1952, where they resided until moving into the governor's mansion in 1975. Governor Busbee was the first Georgia governor to be elected to serve two consecutive four-year terms.
Mrs. Busbee is the mother of Beth Kindt (John), Jan Curtis (Carlton), George Busbee, Jr. (Tammy), and Jeff Busbee (Kelly.) She is predeceased by her parents, Dr. and Mrs. B.H. Talbot, four brothers, a sister, and her husband, who died on July 16, 2004.
Survivors include 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Voted Albany's "Woman of the Year" in 1975, Mrs. Busbee was very active in numerous volunteer services, focusing on cultural and health-related efforts. A breast cancer survivor of 40 years, she was very active in the work of the American Cancer Society. After her husband became governor, she continued her involvement in this cause, producing a cookbook "Mary Beth's Sampler," which benefited the Georgia Division of the American Cancer Society. In addition to serving as honorary chair of the Georgia Division of the American Cancer Society, Mrs. Busbee was instrumental in the establishment of the first Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta for young cancer patients. Her other community involvement included serving as honorary chair of the "Save the Fox" campaign, working with the Mothers' March Against Birth Defects, the Lung Association of Georgia, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
During the eight years that her husband served as governor, Mrs. Busbee actively promoted volunteerism throughout the state. Mrs. Busbee and her daughter, Jan, co-authored a cookbook, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," in 1985, about entertaining at the governor's mansion. The book contains menus, recipes, and anecdotes about the many guests who were entertained at the mansion during the Busbee administration. In 1985, Governor and Mrs. Busbee were instrumental in starting a church which later became Parkway Baptist Church in Duluth, GA, where they lived after he left office in 1983. Initially meeting in the Busbees' living room, the church eventually moved to its current location in North Fulton County. The Busbees were active and beloved members of Parkway Baptist Church until their deaths.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2012 from 2-4 p.m. at Crowell Brothers Funeral Home, 5051 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross, GA.
Funeral services will be held at Parkway Baptist Church on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 3 o'clock with Dr. James M. King officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Parkway Baptist Church (5975 State Bridge Road, Duluth, GA 30097), Peachtree Christian Hospice (3430 Duluth Park Lane, Duluth, GA 30096), or the American Cancer Society (6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 260, Duluth, GA 30097.) Online condolences may be expressed at www.crowellbrothers.com.
Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home
Norcross, GA 770/448-5757