Rhod Buser, 82, longtime resident of Ponca City, Okla., passed away peacefully Monday, June 10, 2019, at his home with his loving family by his side.
A celebration of his life is 2 p.m Thursday, June 13, at Trout Funeral Home and Crematory, 505 W. Grand Ave., Ponca City, with chaplain Justin Pickup officiating. Rhod will be laid to rest privately at Resthaven Memorial Park, Ponca City.
The family will be at his home, 28 Spring Village, Ponca City.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, 445 Fairview, Ponca City, OK 74601.
Rhod was born on July 4, 1936, the son of Curtis Henry Buser and Mildred Gaie Young, in Ponca City. He graduated from Ponca City High School in 1955.
He served in the U.S. Army from February 1955 to August 1955. He then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served from August 1955 to February 1963. While in the Air Force, he was a member of their cliff diving team and was a fearless diver.
He was stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland, and while on leave to Canada, he met Edna Marie Callahan. After a brief courtship, they married on Oct. 2, 1955. The first of four daughters was born in Canada. Later that year, Rhod was transferred to Whiteman AFB in Warrensburg, Mo. Their second daughter was born in Sedalia, Mo, and the third and fourth daughters were born in Kansas City, Mo.
Rhod became a machinist during his time in the military and was recognized by the Air Force on numerous occasions for his outstanding ability. Upon his discharge, he immediately began work as a machinist holding down two jobs to provide for his family.
The family returned to Rhod’s childhood community of Ponca City in 1964. He worked as a machinist at Mertz Brothers for 10 years. He then became a partner with T&R Machine Company and then General Manager of Modern Investment Casting Company until his retirement in 1992.
With the blessing of having four daughters came the blessing of teaching his girls to play fast pitch softball beginning when they were very young. At that time, he also started teaching two of his daughters to become windmill pitchers. Their first games were played at Kids Inc. Rhod was very instrumental in revitalizing that ballpark. He spent many hours at Kids Inc. coaching games as well as hauling dirt, painting, building concessions, etc. All of Rhod’s spare time was spent at the ballpark. Every weekend for six months out of the year was spent at softball tournaments coaching his pride and joy team, the Purple Panthers.
Once his daughters had completed their high school and college careers, he began teaching fast pitch softball lessons to girls of all ages. Rhod held clinics at various locations such as Wichita, Arkansas City, Winfield, Wellington, South Haven, Newkirk, Tonkawa, Blackwell and Ponca City. He continued to do this until two years ago when his health prevented him. He had numerous pitchers who played level 1 and 2 college softball, and he spent many hours traveling from town to town to watch his students play high school and college ball. His face would light up with such joy and enthusiasm every time one of his past students would stop by to visit or gave him a call. He touched many lives with his love of the sport and had many “adopted daughters” as a result of it.
Rhod was inducted into the Oklahoma ASA Softball Hall of Fame in 1990. He was also an avid fan of the Oklahoma Sooners and The Oklahoma City Thunder. Feel free to wear your OU attire to his service to honor our dad.
Another one of Rhod’s favorite hobbies was sculpting bronze figures. He had several training sessions with Ponca City artist Jo Saylors. He made many sculptures and bronze cast them himself. He also cast many of Jo Saylor’s bronzes. One of his best sculptures was a head sculpture of Jesus, which is displayed in the Sacred Arts Museum on the ground of The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Ark.
Rhod was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Edna Buser; his son-in-law ,Tim Holmes; and one brother, Gary Buser.
Family members cherishing Rhod’s memory are four daughters, Joey Bradford and husband Brent, of Jenks, Okla., Theresa Clay and husband Marscellus, of Oklahoma City, Kelly Conrady and husband Keith, of Ponca City, and Laurie Tapp and husband Kevin, of Ponca City; eight grandchildren, Taryn Seddelmeyer and husband Matt, of Jenks, Steven Clay and Kirstie Guerrero and husband Juan, of Oklahoma City, and Randyl Holmes and Bryer Holmes, of Edmond, Okla., Dalton Tapp and Dustin Tapp, of Stillwater, Okla., and Alissa Tapp, of Winfield; two great-grandchildren, Maryn Seddelmeyer, of Jenks, and Maliyah Guerrero, of Oklahoma City; and one brother, Vic Buser, of Woodville, Ohio.