James A. “Bus” Faith, 94, passed away surrounded by family on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at his home in Nevada. Born on October 15, 1926, in Montevallo, Mo., to James William and Ruth Ethel (Bright) Faith, he was known to almost everyone as “Bus”, a nickname earned from his father for always ‘moving around like a little bus’.
Bus grew up in Montevallo and attended the one-room schoolhouse on the Town Square through the 8th grade. He went on to attend El Dorado Springs High School in El Dorado Springs, Mo. and graduated in 1944.
In January of 1945, Bus enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and attended the legendary boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. Recognized for his superior skills, Bus continued at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, famously known for its elite combat training programs. After successfully completing these training programs, the Marines decided to give Bus a taste of the West Coast and he was sent to Sea School, MCRD San Diego to continue his weapons training. Then, Bus was deployed to World War II where he served honorably as an Admiral’s Orderly, while stationed aboard USS Estes (AGC 12).
After the war ended and Bus was no longer needed on active duty, he returned home to Nevada, Mo. However, Bus took the Marine motto to heart: Semper Fidelis (“Always Faithful”) and in August of 1946, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. Bus also began working in construction, most notably at Cottey College Reeves Hall where the brick and mortar he laid still stands today.
Bus had a very strong work ethic, felt a constant draw to public service, and everyone in town knew he was incredibly dependable, but above all, he was a good friend. Which is why no one was surprised when Bus became a City of Nevada Police Officer. Friends described his style as fair and funny, since Bus always liked to make someone smile to brighten their day – even if they were getting a speeding ticket!
Somewhere between working construction and policing the streets, a lovely lady – Diana – caught his eye. Soon after, Diana Lee Stone and Bus Faith were married on June 24, 1950. The newlyweds wouldn’t have much time to settle into married life, though, because Bus, being a Marine Corps Reservist, was called back to active duty in September of 1950.
He shipped out immediately to Korea where he was on the frontlines for almost a year at the end of the brutal Chosin Reservoir Campaign. Bus was a Marine Sergeant Machine Gunner with Weapons Company 3rd Battalion 7th Marines – 1st Marine Division. Out of the 240 Marines that Bus went with into battle, only 37 returned home; Bus was one of the 37. Our family called it “a miracle” that he made it back home - a Christmas miracle.
On December 25, 1951, at 6:00 A.M., Bus drove into the Nevada Town Square. Like the old song goes, Bus had promised “I’ll be home for Christmas”, and he kept his promise. Despite battling a terrible overnight ice storm and going through two sets of snow chains on the tires, nothing was going to keep him from making it home. (Odds are, if you were close to “Buster” you have heard that story 15 or 20 times, and the ice gets worse each time he tells the story; but somehow, that only made us love him more.)
If you were to ask Bus what he was most proud of in life, his answer would always be his kids, Janet and Jimmy, and making sure they both got college degrees. (And they did!) Then, once the grandchildren and great-grandchildren came along, Bus would beam with pride and tell story after story.
Bus was also lucky enough to get a second chance at love later in life when he met and married Carol Menan in Miami, Oklahoma. Ever the Valentine’s Day romantic, Bus married Carol on February 14, 1998. Carol quietly and consistently showed her unwavering love for Bus as she continued to care for him with gentle compassion during his final days.
Many will remember Bus for his 16 years as the elected Vernon County Treasurer, or for being a volunteer firefighter, but everyone will probably remember him from the Nevada Elks Club. He joined in February of 1952 and proudly proclaimed his status as their oldest member. Bus treasured spending his Thursday afternoons with his Elks “NASCAR Bunch” and his family takes great comfort in knowing he had such happy times with his friends even at the end of his life. Everyone has a “story” of Bus at the Elks Club, and his family can’t wait to hear all of them! He will also be remembered for his farming – crates and crates and crates of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. He was born with green thumbs and loved using his hands to grow things on his farm.
When people think of Bus Faith, they will likely see the image of him behind the wheel of a dump truck smiling and waving as he hauled rock all over Vernon County. He was always happiest driving around town, delivering rock to customers and visiting about whatever happened to be going on in town.
Bus is survived by his wife, Carol Faith, of the home. He is also survived by his daughter, Janet Guthrie (John Allen) of Nevada, Mo.; his son, Jim Faith (Tricia) of Wichita, Kans.; and stepdaughters, Vickie Floyd (Larry) of Kansas City, Mo.; Alecia Johnson, Dickson, Tenn.; Rebekah Foley, Delinda Johnson and Christin Johnson of Nevada, Mo.
Blessed with large family that loved him, Bus is survived by many grandchildren and even more step grandchildren; just to name a few: Lana Faith Newman (husband Craig, children Olivia and Sam) and Ron Faith (children Phoenix, Raymond, and Tabitha) of Phoenix, Ariz.; Erica Guthrie (Alan Johnson) of Kansas City, Mo. and Marci Townsend (husband Michael, children Claire and Lanie) of Overland Park, Kans.; and Marcus Baysinger of Wichita, Kans. Survivors also include nieces and nephews, Nancy Faith Doutey (Matt), Vicki Faith, Bob Faith (Muffie), Jimmy Oslin, and Jason Oslin. Bus was preceded in death by his brother Robert V. Faith and sister Maxine Faith Oslin.
Graveside services with Military Honors will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at Olive Branch Cemetery Branch Cemetery in Milo, MO with Dr. Kevin Daugherty officiating. The family will receive friends from 5-7:00 p.m. on Friday evening at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested in his memory to BPOE Elks #564 in Nevada c/o Ferry Funeral Home.