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2012 Rotarian of the Year
Eugene M. Busche grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana where he became an Eagle Scout, sang in an Episcopalian Boys’ Choir and delivered 160 newspapers every evening. He served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946 and graduated from Indiana University School of Business in 1950. Upon graduation, he became an agent for American United Life Insurance and then in 1956 joined the home office staff of Indianapolis Life Insurance Company. During a 40-year career at Indianapolis Life, he rose through the ranks, serving 19 years as the company’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Gene also served as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Trust Committee of Indiana National Bank.
Family has been very important to Gene. He and his wife of 58 years, Barbara Sherow, have always emphasized family. Today, they have two children, David and Sara, son-in-law David, six grandchildren and one great grandson. When their daughter-in-law, Tina, died of breast cancer in 1998, Barbara and Gene stepped in and helped to raise their son’s three children.
Family also played a role in Gene’s decision to join Rotary in 1971. In doing so, he became the third generation Rotarian following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. Gene’s two children are also Rotarians. Gene served as president of the Rotary Club in 1980-81 and also as president of the Rotary Foundation of Indianapolis. He is an active participant in club activities, is a Paul Harris Fellow and a James Whitcomb Riley Fellow.
As written in one of the nominations, “Gene Busche is an exemplar of “Service Above Self”. He is the epitome of truth, fairness, goodwill and friendships.” His desire to live out Rotary’s creed to place “service above self” is exemplified by his commitment as a member and chairman of the board of Methodist Hospital and more than 15 other organizations. He also served as a member of the board of trustees or directors of another 20 organizations.