Stella  Buster

Obituary of Stella R. Buster

Stella R. Buster beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother was called to her eternal resting place on February 7, 2024. Stella was born in Albuquerque’s South Broadway neighborhood to Ignacio and Rebecca Rodulfo on January 29, 1926. She had two older sisters Lenore and Ophelia, one older brother Manuel and one younger brother Prex. Faith and family were very important values impressed upon her by her parents and she held these values close to her heart throughout her life. Her father Ignacio built the family home himself mostly of adobe construction. Stella actually helped make some of the adobes the house was built with! They had a one-acre lot and there were crops and a few farm animals that she would help tend along with her sisters and brothers. As a young girl she took a few piano lessons, and it became clear that she had a special talent for the piano. She loved to play and amazingly she didn’t need to read music. She would continue to play by ear for the rest of her life much to the enjoyment of others. She attended San Jose elementary, Lincoln Jr. High and graduated from Albuquerque High School class of 1944. After graduation she visited her sister Ophelia in southern California where she worked briefly at a chenille factory and a Dixie cup factory. After a while she missed her New Mexico family and decided to return. Upon returning she applied and was certified for a teaching position in Cedar Crest New Mexico. It was a one room classroom and she spoke often of how much she enjoyed teaching and how fond she was of her students. Around that time, she went to a dance with her brother Manuel where she was introduced to a former sailor named Reuben Villanueva. After dating for a while, they were engaged and then they married in June 1946. They began to raise a family in the Martinez Town neighborhood and would eventually have five children, Reuben Jr., Patricia, Michael, Dennis, and David. Although their marriage ended in divorce, and she faced some challenging times she always managed to keep her family together. She worked at the Wilson Jr. High cafeteria and later as a court clerk at the Bernalillo County courthouse to make ends meet.

Years later when her children were on their own, she met her second husband, Ralph G. Buster. He was a retired USAF Chief Master Sargeant who served 30 years. After dating a few years they were married in Reno, Nevada in 1978. Ralph absolutely adored Stella and they enjoyed many adventures together. There were many road trips on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle that they pulled a small trailer with all their gear inside. Later, when the motorcycle became too much to manage, they switched to an RV and continued their adventures. At this time, she also worked as a substitute teacher’s aide and later as a volunteer at the Kirtland Air Force Base thrift shop. Stella had quite a green thumb and she enjoyed gardening and taking care of her houseplants. Meanwhile Ralph loved to tinker and build things in his workshop. He always had a project in the works. He even restored a player piano for Stella. Ralph was very kind and always welcomed all of Stella’s family into his home as if they were his own. Those were probably the happiest days of her life! Sadly, Ralph passed away in 2001. Stella always spoke kindly of him and missed him dearly the rest of her days.

After Ralph’s passing Stella remained active and spent more and more time with her family. She continued to work at the thrift shop for over 25 years and made many, many friends there. She was very proud of her volunteer service there. She did water aerobics, went on a trip to Spain as well as many visits to her son David and his family in Syracuse, NY. In 2012 she suffered a devastating loss when her son Michael passed away. Those were her saddest days, but she remained strong with the support of her family, friends, and her faith.

When it came time for her to leave the home her and Ralph made, she moved first to Brookdale and then to Bear Canyon Estates independent living facilities. It was a hard move for her, but she eventually adjusted to her new life. She enjoyed many good times and was involved in many interesting activities with lots of new friends. She always attended weekly Bible study meetings and would often read scriptures out loud to the group. In her last years she developed dementia and eventually had to move to Watermark Memory care. Although she had dementia she still remembered and recognized all her children, grandchildren, and friends. She could still play the piano, which was greatly appreciated and requested by her fellow residents and the staff. She still participated in and enjoyed many of the activities they offered. On January 28, 2024, she celebrated her 98th birthday with her family and friends surrounding her. She had a good time and was very happy that day! Stella passed from this world a short time after that. Her greatest joy was always to be with her family and when she passed, they were all at her side giving her comfort and thanking her for all the love she gave. Stella really was a very special person to everyone that knew her, full of life and love, she will always be missed. As a woman of great faith, she now rests in the everlasting arms of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Stella
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Riverside Funeral Home of Albuquerque
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