Manuel DeBusk was educated in Texas public schools, attended Wayland Junior College, Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) and SMU Law School. He and his wife Edith established a law firm in Dallas specializing in Mortgage and Real Estate Law. He was active in Texas politics from 1936 through 1980.
His long-standing interest in education and civic service led to his appointment as Chairman of the Board of Texas Technological College and Chairman of the Coordinating Board of all Texas colleges and universities. He was an International President of Cosmopolitan International, an international service club. As Chairman of the Board of the Association of Small Foundations (now Exponent Philanthropy) in Washington, DC, he promoted small foundations. He was also a Special Agent with the FBI during World War II. The death of his wife Edith was followed by two marriages to Jean Shelley Jennings Henry and subsequently to Darlena Demay Starnes Blackwell, both of whom preceded Manuel in death.
Mr. Manuel DeBusk passed away peacefully October 24, 2011, at the age of 97. During the 30 years in which he actively participated as the President of the Board of the DeBusk Foundation and then as a Director, more than 12,000 gifted and talented children were awarded scholarships for enrichment courses. He will be missed by all of the lives he touched and dearly remembered for his generosity, integrity and wonderful sense of humor. There’s no telling how many people will be enriched as a result of his and Edith DeBusk’s vision of doing something good for others. He paid it forward in more ways than can possibly be counted. Mr. DeBusk often said it would trickle down from where he started, so that our future leaders could some day do great things for others. He once referred to all of the gifted and talented children as, “Budding geniuses.”