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Catherine Marie Busch
April 29, 1932 – May 9, 2020

Catherine, 88, passed away at Farmington Square - Salem on May 9, 2020. Her father Tony Steinkamp and mother Lena G. (Pereira) Steinkamp farmed the family acreage in the Aumsville area. Catherine was the oldest of five children, with siblings Agnes, Joe, Frances, and Eleanor. She was recruited at an early age to help with farm chores such as milking the cows, feeding the pigs, tending the sheep and driving the work horses. She attended all 12 years of her education at St. Boniface Catholic School.  In the early years there was no bus service, so in good weather she walked 2 ˝ miles to school and in poor weather her dad would drive them in his old Ford pickup.  When Catherine finished 4th grade, she began picking berries for neighbors, and as she got older picked other crops as they matured. During grain harvest, she helped her mom cook dinner for the workers and provided drinking water and snacks during the day. When Catherine turned 16, she began working at the Stayton cannery during the summers. 

While in school, piano lessons were one of her great joys. She became an accomplished pianist and organist, and played the organ at St. Boniface Catholic Church for many years.

Catherine married Robert (Bob) Busch in September 1950. They spent almost 41 years together before he passed away suddenly on July 31, 1991. They had four children: Tony, Tom, Sheila and Ed. While raising and caring for their family, Bob spent most of his working life as a local freight truck driver while Catherine worked in the insurance industry.  She started as a secretary for Sublimity Insurance Company in the 1950s, ultimately advancing to an underwriter position with the company. In the 1980s she moved to Northwest Physicians Mutual Insurance Company in Salem, working as an underwriter and accountant until her retirement as Vice-President, Underwriting.  During her career, Catherine attained the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and was an active member of the National Association of Insurance Women. She also served in many volunteer roles supporting St. Boniface Church, Regis High School, and local community groups, as time from her family allowed.

In their early years together, Catherine and Bob lived on the Steinkamp family farm, with short stints in West Stayton and along the Santiam River in the Scio area. In 1966 Catherine and Bob purchased a home on Church Street in Sublimity. Catherine lived there until she moved to the Marian Estates campus, first building a home on Redwood Court and then moving to McKillop Residence in 2001. Catherine found many good friends at McKillop. She would keep busy typing the Terrace Tidings newsletter and tutoring adult students from Chemeketa Community College to obtain their U.S. citizenship and study English as a second language. She moved to Farmington Square – Salem in 2017, where she made more good friends and continued to be an involved, beloved part of the Busch and Steinkamp families.  In Catherine’s words: “Bloom where you are planted”.

Catherine is survived by her four children and their spouses, Tony and Sharon Busch of Myrtle Creek, Tom and Lorraine Busch of Salem, Sheila Baker of Sublimity, and Ed and Sharlene Busch of Sequim, Washington, as well as seven grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.  She is also survived by three siblings and their spouses:  Agnes and Walter Hall of John Day, Joe and Laura Steinkamp of Oregon City, and Eleanor Carleton of Portland.  Her parents, her husband Bob, and her sister Frances predeceased her.

A private burial Mass will be held at St. Boniface Church, Sublimity. Donations can be made to Regis St. Mary Catholic School or a charity of choice.  Serving the family, North Santiam Funeral Services, Stayton.


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