Apex Funeral Home

550 W Williams St, Apex, NC


Thaddeus Hillery Busbice

February 29, 1932November 9, 2019

Thaddeus Hillery Busbice February 29, 1932 – November 9, 2019

Born in Richland Parish, Louisiana, February 29, 1932, Thaddeus Hillery Busbice died in his home in Cary, North Carolina on November 9, 2019. Thad was the son of Elton Basil Busbice and Eva Mae Fisher. He was born and raised on his family farm in northern Louisiana during the difficult years of the Great Depression. Thad loved cotton farming and had great fondness for growing up in a farming community with his parents and his seven brothers and sisters. He especially enjoyed driving the tractor and fishing on Boeuf River. His early experiences helped shape him into the honest, kind, caring and hard-working husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend that we love. Thad graduated from Mangham High School and attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where he graduated in 1956 with a B.S. in Agriculture. He served as Captain Artillery in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960. He continued to serve in the Army National Reserve until 1968. After he left active service, Thad went back to Louisiana to help his father with the family farm. Thad attended Iowa State University receiving his Masters and Ph.D in Crop Science in 1965. His published dissertation, “Inbreeding depression and heterosis in autotetraploids with application to Medicago sativa L.” Euphytica, February 1966, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 52–67, was a seminal work in the field of plant breeding.

After graduation from Iowa State University in 1965, he worked for the USDA Agricultural Research Service at North Carolina State University as a plant breeder and geneticist. Over the next decade, he published 14 different papers on his research in alfalfa genetics and plant breeding. His research built a lasting foundation that is the basis for current and future scientific breakthroughs.

In 1977, Thad launched his entrepreneurial career and started Great Plains Research Company. Great Plains brought to market a number of high yielding alfalfa varieties, most notably Cimarron. He led the company for nearly 40 years until his retirement.

During his time at Iowa State University, he met June Louise Enge. They married on December 27, 1964. They moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1966 and were married for 54 years. Thad was the father of five children and grandfather of thirteen.

We remember Thad for his character, much more than any of his many accomplishments. This is the legacy he leaves with his family, that a humble and honest life, spent caring for family is a life well-lived. He deeply loved June, and their commitment and love for each other was evident to everyone who knew them. Thad loved spending his time on his farm in Cary, North Carolina. He taught each of his kids to love farm fresh vegetables, raising animals, making fresh pico de gallo and ice cream, and going on “walk-abouts” around the farm. The family loved spending summers together at Topsail Beach. When they could get away, June and Thad loved to travel together.

Thad played an instrumental role in the founding of the CORRAL Riding Academy in Cary, North Carolina. Key to his enduring legacy is his farm, which now provides opportunity for hundreds of marginalized young women each year. Thad loved farming, but he was also a champion for equity and justice – traits he passed to his children. He will be remembered daily as we walk his farm and see the impact he continues to make on the community, through every blade of grass he planted and every barn he built.

He is survived by his wife, June Busbice; son, Thaddeus (Ty) Enge Busbice and wife Kelly, Holly Springs; daughter, Tansy Busbice O’Bryant and husband Hugh, Cary; son, John Basil Busbice and wife Caroline, Cary; daughter Eva Busbice Higby and husband Rob, Scottsdale, Arizona; daughter, Joy Busbice Currey and husband Rob, Cary. Thirteen grandchildren: Megan, Molly and Kara Busbice of Ty Busbice; Roan and Cody O’Bryant of Tansy O’Bryant; Jack and Bridget Busbice of John Busbice; Brayden, Matthew, Charlotte and Lucy Higby of Eva Higby; and June and Mitchell Currey of Joy Currey. His youngest brother, Bruce Busbice and Barbara, Monroe, Louisiana. He is also survived by sixteen nieces and nephews who he loved dearly.

Notes of warm memories of Thad are appreciated. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to Corral Riding Academy or Transitions Lifecare.

Corral Riding Academy 3620 Kildaire Farm Road Cary, NC 27518

Transitions LifeCare Attn: Philanthropy Department 250 Hospice Circle Raleigh, NC 27607


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Thaddeus Hillery Busbice

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Judy Davenport

November 17, 2019

What a full and lovely tribute to the humble and wise man I met many years ago in different settings - usually studying some aspect of the Bible. June and family, my heart is breaking as I've just been told. You've been on my mind for weeks now and I should have followed the nudging in my heart. I loved talking with Thad about farm life and his business and I enjoyed his sharing his thoughts about our Lord and Savior who Thad knew well, I know. A farmer normally has that Heavenly connection because he depends so much on what God does. How blessed those 5 children and 13 grandchildren are to have walked beside their father/grandfather through the fields and listen to what he had to say! It's evident that they listened, too. Please know how much I love your family and grieve along with you. Yes, I know the angels were singing praises when Thad enter into the Kingdom and was ushered to the home prepared especially for him. Blessings to each of you. Micah 6:8

Charles meador

November 16, 2019

I remember Thad from Mangham school. We rode the same bus. I was in elementary school, but Thad and my brother Jackie were best friends. Jackie passed away two years ago. My memory of him is that he was always smiling.

Tony Preston

November 11, 2019

When my family and I relocated to Holly Springs, NC, Mr. Busbice was there to welcome our family into his church family. Each week we absorbed his wisdom, wit and stories of a young life in Louisiana. Thank you man of God and your wife June for encouraging us through a transition period in life. May Heaven welcome you with applause! God bless.

Tony and Alethea Preston