Buster Clarence Hart
Age 95, BC died at home peacefully Sept. 15, 2018. Preceded in death by parents Alfreda and Harry Henry Hart; infant brother Bobby Joe and identical twin brother B. (“Bud”) Warren Hart. Survived by loving wife Jean Elmquist Hart; devoted children Nannette, Kyle (Holly), Charles and Charlotte (Timothy Massad); dear grandchildren Kiernan, Anne, Taylor, Henry, Sky, Valora, Emil, Aurora and Jayne. Born in Promise City, Iowa, Mar. 19, 1923. Graduated Rapid City (SD) High School (1940), Univ. of Iowa (1947), Harvard Law School (1950).
BC voluntarily interrupted college to enlist in WW II. Assigned to the 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division, he participated in Task Force Linden which repulsed Germany’s final attempted offensive near Strasbourg, France, January 1945. BC’s 222nd Regiment was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism. Rainbow regiments then advanced across the German border pushing to Munich. BC earned a Bronze Star Medal (courage and daring in hand delivery of a tactical message through enemy territory, under fire and at night), and Bronze Star Medal-Oak Leaf Cluster (exemplary conduct in ground combat). Outside Munich, the 42nd encountered the Dachau concentration camp. BC was in a second group entering Dachau within an hour of liberation, and among the first outside eyewitnesses to its full Nazi horrors.
After WW II, BC returned to the Univ. of Iowa, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, then attended Harvard Law School. Following Harvard, a clerkship with Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Clarence Magney was cut short by the Korean War, where BC served as a Judge Advocate. He remained active in the US Army Reserves, Judge Advocate General Corps, until retiring in 1983 as a Lt. Colonel.
Following the Korean War, BC entered private law practice in St. Paul. He became a partner in Briggs and Morgan, including a term as president of the firm. In 1983, BC founded his own law firm, Hart and Bruner, specializing in construction disputes, surety and insurance law. He completed his career as a senior partner with Fabyanske Westra Hart & Thomson.
BC deeply involved himself in professional and civic organizations including: the Am. College of Trial Lawyers; Am. College of Construction Lawyers; Am. Bar Association; Am. Bd. of Trial Advocates; Fidelity and Surety Law Committee of Tort & Insurance Practice Section; Junior Chamber of Commerce; and United Way.
Handsome and dashing, BC broke hearts on both sides of the Atlantic until falling in love at first sight with Jean Elmquist at the home of a mutual friend. They married on May 20, 1955, raising their children in White Bear Lake. BC loved hunting, fishing and dancing. Cowboy hat on, BC learned to downhill ski and enjoyed ski vacations with his family. Each summer for now 50 years, a special family place was their cabin on 7 Eagles Island on Lake Namakan in northern MN. BC devotedly watched the Vikings with family, consuming his favorite popcorn and milk. Special thanks to the Vikes for winning BC’s final game (49ers on 9/9/18).
BC lived a remarkable life. Growing up, his family eked out a farm/ranch existence lacking indoor electricity and plumbing, surviving drought and the Great Depression. Hard-working cowboy children, BC and his twin Bud found time to become top students, championship debaters and baton twirling drum majors. They pursued their education from a one-room rural schoolhouse to Harvard Law School. A fiercely competitive nature—whether battling for our country or representing law clients—was matched only by BC’s extraordinary graciousness. No person or conversation was too small or unimportant for his undivided attention. BC was a source of continuous joy, inspiration and great stories (he had many to tell) to his family and all who knew him.
From The Cowboy’s Prayer (Clem McSpadden): “We do ask Lord, that you will help us live our lives here on earth as cowboys, in such a manner, that when we make that last inevitable ride, to the country up there, where the grass grows lush, green, and stirrup high, and the water runs cool, clear, and deep, that you'll take us by the hand and say - ‘Welcome to Heaven cowboy, your entry fees are paid.’”
BC more than earned his entry fees. And while he is dearly missed, we find comfort that BC has been reunited with his twin brother Bud. Back astride favorite childhood ponies Ribbon, Dixie and Trixie, they are embarking anew on cowboy adventures over the wild western lands of our country they so loved.
Service Saturday, October 6, 11:00 A.M. at ST JOHN IN THE WILDERNESS, 2175 First Street, White Bear Lake, MN. Visitation 9:30-11:00 a.m. at the church. Private Family burial. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Wounded Warrior Project or The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.