‘Bye for Now’

Louis T. Busch

The history of Malibu cannot be told without talking about Louis T. Busch. The prolific Realtor made a lasting mark on the city — as a founding member of the Malibu Board of Realtors and through the 65 years of work he completed from his office, located at 22253 Pacific Coast Highway since 1949.

Busch passed away on June 9 at the age of 90, and the community and his loved ones gathered on Thursday, July 16 at Duke’s Malibu to celebrate the man who helped shape Malibu to become what it is today. 

On display were three baskets of avocados, which were one of the signature gifts the Busch family would give to friends and members of the community. There were large boards, filled with photos of Busch and his friends and family members, taken throughout his lifetime.

Guests gathered and swapped stories about Busch while snacking on food, viewing photos and signing a guest book. After the reception was over, guests took their seats and listened to several speakers share about their relationship with Busch, including Stan Berman, who shared stories about the 55 years he knew Busch.

“We were best friends for 55 years,” Berman shared. “He sold me my first house in Malibu.” Berman accidentally entered Busch’s office when his friend pulled over to the side of the road, and Busch told him he wanted him to be his neighbor. Berman bought the home next door to Busch, and they were neighbors for 13 years.

After Busch moved away to the Colony, Berman continued to see him once a month for lunch.

Longtime friend of the Busch family and Malibu resident Mary Gonzalez explained that the memorial service was “just lovely.”  

“I can’t say enough about him and what a fine person he was,” Gonzalez shared. “It was amazing to hear about how he started in real estate with his father with 17 people and now they’re over 900 people.”

Gonzalez said that the service was not too sad, and that those who attended focused on the happy parts, which is what she feels Busch would have wanted.

Years ago, Gonzalez would join the Busch family, as well as six of seven other Malibu families, and go on a weekly outing with their kids. When their kids were with babysitters, Gonzalez shared that she and Busch liked to play fun tricks on close friends.

“One time, one of our dear pals was going on a trip and we put a bowling ball in his bag,” Gonzalez shared while laughing. “We were rascals.”

After Busch’s passing, Malibu resident Jim Mallen shared his feelings about Busch in a letter to the editor to The Malibu Times: “In the fast and furious world of real estate, Busch was a steady anchor who helped build Malibu one lot, one house, one parcel at a time with his expertise and knowledge.”

He went on to share about what a visit to Busch’s office would entail.

“His office was a veritable archive of the early days of Malibu,” Mallen wrote. “A visit there always produced an anecdote (or two) about the days gone by. A visit to see Busch nearly always ended with a trip to his car trunk and a bag full of his precious avocados to take home.”

Mallen and Gonzalez both shared that they remembered Busch’s signature parting words — “Bye for now.”

Longtime Malibu resident and author Pete Haynes shared, “Louis T. Busch was and is the face of Malibu from the late 1940s to present day. Toward the last few months of his life, I would stop by his office for a visit. He, like myself, had vivid memories of what Malibu was like back in the old days and we would reminisce.” Busch was one of the main characters in a book Haynes wrote about the history of Malibu, “1950s Malibu, Growing Up in Paradise.”

Busch was predeceased by son Ted and daughter Bonnie and is survived by wife Doris; daughter Amarie and husband Des Coyle; grandson Garrett Derevjanik; and longtime associate and close friend Ann Rudy Thomas.