NOT RESTING ON HER LAURELS n Sharon Busler, home economist for the Mississippi State University-Extension Service, Lauderdale County, plans to write a family cookbook and take on other projects as a retiree. Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star.
Editor's note: A retirement reception honoring Sharon Busler will be held June 22, from 2 p.m.-4 p.m., in the lobby of the Raymond P. Davis Annex Building.
By Ida Brown/The Meridian Star
June 10, 2001
Although her presence is still evident neat stacks of files and papers at her desk and a display shelf lined with family photographs and other mementos Sharon Busler is less visible around the Lauderdale County Extension Service office.
In recent weeks, the home economist has been visiting people she has worked with for more than three decades, while catching up on those things she hasn't had time for.
During those three decades, Busler has worn several hats, coordinated numerous workshops, conferences and special events and even garnered a number of awards and honors.
A native of Poplarville, Busler's association with the Extension Service began at the age of 10 when a 4-H agent visited her home.
Entomology was her 4-H project, however, it was not her first choice.
So she opted for entomology collecting insects was a favorite pastime. Busler excelled in her project, earning recognition as a National Record Winner and a one-year college scholarship. She even participated in a fireflies project sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
But national recognitions and awards were not her only benefits of 4-H.
The Extension youth program also assisted in Busler's personal development.
Her positive experience with the program influenced her career choice. After high school, Busler enrolled at the then Mississippi College for Women (Mississippi University for Women), to pursue a degree in home economics education. At one point, she considered a career change.
Busler finished school and upon graduation in 1970, she applied for a position with the state Extension Service. Two positions were available for an assistant home economist one in Bay St. Louis, the other in Meridian.
Fortunately, the small town girl was not entering unfamiliar territory. A year earlier, Busler completed her student teaching requirements with the Meridian Public School System at Northwest Junior High School.
Her title of assistant home economist was soon changed to 4-H youth agent. It was a defining moment in her career.
After 20 years as a youth agent, Busler assumed duties as home economist upon the retirement of Mary Welch. Because of her dedication and love of working with youth, some thought the transition might prove unfavorable.
Busler especially enjoyed working in the areas of nutrition, money management, family life, as well as planning the annual Family Matters conference and organizing programs with the Meridian Housing Authority.
With retirement 20 days away, Busler has been busy cleaning out her office, organizing files for her successor and doing some advance program planning.
And though she looks forward to a slower pace, Busler doesn't plan to rest on her laurels. She is writing a family cookbook(which she is considering publishing), organizing family photographs and increasing her knowledge and involvement in herb gardening. She also is "toying with the idea" of becoming a youth speaker or providing training in child care.
She and her husband, Charlie, will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year and plan to go on a trip. Busler also plans to spend more time with her father, who still lives in Poplarville, and complete projects for her daughter, Rachel.
And the place that once seemed so overwhelming to her is now considered "home."