Education: Florence Busby Corriher scholarship
Frances Bradsher Busby of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is paying tribute to her family’s involvement with Catawba College by establishing a new First Family Scholarship.
The Florence Busby Corriher First Family Scholarship is in memory of Busby’s late mother-in-law, the former director of dramatics at Catawba and founder of Catawba’s Blue Masque. Preference will be given to students majoring in theatre arts.
Born in Salisbury, Busby attended Catawba as a day student between 1942 and 1944. Although Corriher was a member of the faculty during that time, Busby did not study under her. She did marry Corriher’s middle son, Philip Busby, and she introduced Corriher’s third son to his wife.
“She was a perfectionist and very strong on that,” Busby says. “If the students would come to the plays without their property, she would give them grief. The Catawba performances were so popular that all of Salisbury came to see them.
“She was about five feet tall with a rounded shape, you might say. In order to increase her presence, she took small steps and walked fast. She had two distinctive outfits, one dark brown, and the other black, and she had dark hair and dark eyes and wore her hair on top of her head in ringlets. She was definitely an actress, and my husband definitely inherited that from her.”
Corriher was originally from Memphis, Tenn., and attended Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, Mass., where she met her future husband, John Busby, who was a student at Harvard Law School. After she graduated, she worked Broadway, and John Busby returned to Salisbury where he opened a law practice, suspending it to serve in the U.S. Army in France during World War I.
When an actors’ strike closed theatres in New York, the two were married in July of 1919 and settled in Salisbury. He resumed his law practice and, after the birth of their first two sons, she began to work in Catawba’s fledgling theatre arts program in 1925. The couple’s third son, Christopher, was born in 1929. Then, in 1933 at the age of 39, John Busby died of influenza and pneumonia.
Florence Busby remained at Catawba until 1948 when she married Lotan A. Corriher of Landis, a textile manufacturer and longtime trustee and benefactor of Catawba College. She died in 1979.
After two years at Catawba, Frances Busby transferred to Duke University’s School of Nursing, graduating in 1947. She retains fond memories of her time at Catawba.
Her husband Philip graduated from Harvard like his father and had a long and successful career in shipping until his death in November 2006.
The Busbys’ family includes four children, Philip Fransioli Busby Jr. of Apex, Byron Allen Busby and Bonnie Frances Busby, both of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Spencer Shuford Busby of San Diego, Calif., 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.