Alfred Lowell Bussell
Tech 5, United States Army
Al Bussell of Bakersfield, California, a man of honor
Al passed away on April 8, 2004 after a long battle with cancer. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery alongside the men he fought beside in World War II.
Alfred Lowell Bussell was born to J. E. and Susan Bussell on October 3, 1924 in Long Beach, California. Al was the sixth of seven children and the youngest of the “five Bussell boys.” J. E. and Susan moved to Kern County in 1928, to engage in farming. They settled first near Rosedale, then expanded to larger acreage on Stockdale Highway.
Bussell graduated from Kern County Union [now Bakersfield] High School in 1942 where he was a member and officer of the Future Farmers of America. He attended Bakersfield Community College until he entered the U. S. Army on May 6, 1944.
On November, 1944 was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, 22nd Regiment Combat Team, B Company. He trained in Fort Hood, Texas before he was sent to the European Theater. After the war, the 22nd was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for bravery during the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Huertgen Forest. The battle for the Huertgen was the longest and bloodiest battle fought in Europe during World War II.
The 22nd Infantry Regiment Combat Team entered the battle on November 16, 1944. On December 3, B Company was overrun by enemy counterattack at which time Al and other soldiers were captured.
Al was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag 111A Luckenwalde in Germany. The camp was liberated April 22, 1945 and he returned to the U. S. in June, 1945. He was awarded two Bronze Stars, a POW Medal and a Mid-East African European Medal.
After completing his military duty he returned to civilian life and family responsibilities and began a farming enterprise ten miles west of Bakersfield.
Al married Mary Eddy Cornelson in 1946. The two were lovingly committed to each other and their family through 56 years of marriage. They had three children.
From early childhood, farming was his only vocational ambition. Bussell was named Kern County’s Outstanding Young Farmer in 1958, the first of a number of awards earned for excellence in farming. He was active in many farm cooperatives and was a pioneer in establishing the Rosedale - Rio Bravo Water Storage District. He was a member of the Farm Bureau and a member of Rotary, International.
Over time, Bussell converted a portion of his farm from conventional farming methods to a pick-your-own operation, the Al Bussell Ranch, which, until it closed, was the one of the largest you-pick-farms in California and probably the best-known farm in Kern County.
In 1989, Bussell returned to Europe with his
wife to retrace the 4th Division battle route and to participate in the
World War II television documentary, “D- Day to the Rhine” created and
produced by KCET’s Bill Moyers.
His disposition and approach to life will serve
as a family role model for generations to come. He generously shared with
everyone his unique wit and zest for life. During the later years of his
life, his belief in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord deepened and became
an increasingly important fact he enthusiastically shared with others.
He is survived by Mary Eddy, son Bart Bussell, wife Patrice and children Sarah Zervis and husband Jim, Caleb, Joshua, Rebekah Sammons and husband Troy, Andrew, and great-grandchildren; Michael Bussell and his wife Liz and daughters, Abigail and Lilly; daughter Salli and husband Bernard and their children, Nicholas and Elizabeth.
He is also survived by sister Sofiea Clerico
and nephews Dr. Kevin Clerico and his wife Tanya; Erin Clerico and his
wife Kathleen; nephews Dr. Norman Bussell, Jr., Colonel, U. S. Army, stationed
at the Presidio, Monterey, California; Sidney Bussell and his wife Donna
of New York City, Roger Bussell of Bakersfield and Gene Bussell of Washington;
nieces Cheryl Richmond, Joyce Bussell and Carol Bussell and many much-loved
grandnieces and nephews.