Born in St. Louis on March 28, 1899, August Anheuser Busch Jr. was the second son of August A. Busch Sr. and the former Alice Ziesemann. His grandfather Adolphus Busch Sr. co-founded the Anheuser-Busch brewery and became a legendary figure in St. Louis.
In September 1933, Gussie married his second wife Elizabeth Overton Dozier. The two apparently had an affair before the death of his first wife and the marriage occurred only two weeks after Elizabeth’s divorce from her husband. She subsequently bore Gussie both a daughter and a son.
The 43–year-old Gussie volunteered for service in the Army in June 1942 and received the rank of lieutenant colonel with an assignment to the Pentagon. When Adolphus Busch died on August 29, 1946, Gussie became president of the brewery.
On a trip to Switzerland in 1949, Busch met the beautiful 22-year-old Gertrude (Trudy) Buholzer. After a nasty $1,000,000 divorce settlement with Elizabeth, he married Trudy in 1952. Trudy bore him seven children between 1954 and 1966.
In February 1953, Fred Saigh, the St Louis Cardinals owner, faced a prison sentence for tax evasion. Rumors flew that out-of-towners would buy the team and move it to Milwaukee. Busch and his brewery stepped in, bought the struggling team for $3.75 million, and pledged never to move the team out of St. Louis.
The primary reason for buying the team was to sell more beer. The Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch quickly became enmeshed.
In 1975, his son Augustus Busch III successfully convinced the Anheuser-Busch Board of Directors to force his 76-year-old father’s retirement as the head of the company. He retained control of the Cardinals.
In 1981, Gussie married Margaret Snyder, his onetime personal secretary. Six years before, she became the first woman to serve on the board of directors of Anheuser-Busch. In the same year, the St. Louis Cardinals also named her to its board. In August 1988, she suffered a pulmonary embolism and died at the age of 72.
In 1989, after a hospitalization for pneumonia, the 90-year-old August A. Busch Jr. died at his St. Louis home. A sister, one former wife, nine children, 27 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren survived him.