Buster's Story

     Buster currently lives on Maui along with his life partner Beverly. The two of them moved to the Valley Isle from Oahu in 2013. Prior to that, Buster had lived all of his life on Oahu, the only exception to that being the year he spent with his family in Washington State when he was eleven years-of-age.

     In high school he was more or less your average student with some athletic ability which he put to use playing football, soccer and running the hurdles in track. He did pretty well in all those sports, but not so well that of any of his accomplishments would have made headlines in the local newspapers.

     That all changed in an instant in 1973 during his junior year of high school when in the second quarter of their league championship football game between his high school, Saint Louis, and their rival, Punahou School, he was injured while making the tackle on a kick-off. The helmet to helmet collision resulted in him suffering a C4/5 spinal cord injury which left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down.


       Buster had finally made headlines, it turns out, but not for a reason he could have ever imagined. To say that such an event as this was life changing is the ultimate understatement. There would be many new challenges for Buster to face over the next nine months he would spend as a patient at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific. It was there that the doctors, nurses and therapists would do their best to put the pieces of his life back together again.


     By the time Buster was discharged from Rehab Hospital late that summer he had no doubt overcome a lot, but he knew that even greater challenges lay ahead. 

      With the help of his family, friends and many others he did persevere. In the ensuing years he would graduate from St. Louis High School in 1975 and later go on to earn a B.A. in English from the University of Hawaii. Buster has expressed how especially grateful he is to his parents for the extensive care, assistance and support they provided him throughout this period. He is certain he would not have been able to achieve what he did had it not been for them.

     Once out of college Buster quickly came to understand that it would be extremely difficult for him physically to work in the traditional eight-to-four job setting, so he kept busy doing volunteer and part-time work for various disability-related organizations. 

     Buster continued doing that for a number of years before eventually deciding that it was time to move on. Lacking any direction Buster subsequently spent a prolonged period of days, weeks and years doing little more than hanging out at Waikiki Beach watching the beachgoers, soaking up the sun and contemplating what to do with the rest of his life.

     "At this time in my life I didn’t know what it was that I wanted to do, but I did know that it wasn’t what I had been doing,” Buster says. “I wanted to try something different, something new, something that I hadn’t tried before.”

     It was at this point that he met the love of his life, Beverly, whose ability to see things in him that he couldn’t see in himself set off a spark that soon sent his life into a whole new trajectory. It was at her urging that Buster, just shy of his 50th birthday, agreed to take part in an art program put on by the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific. Skeptical that it would be of any benefit to him, he reluctantly decided to give it a try.​

     Painting with a brush in his mouth was not as foreign to Buster as one might think as he had been using a mouth stick for a variety of tasks over the years, such as for typing. But developing the fine touch that is often required for painting took a while to acquire and his first attempts resulted in works that might have been mistaken for those done by a child. With each weekly session, however, Buster would notice small but significant improvements in his technique.

“It was almost as if painting was becoming second nature to me,” he says. “The result, without my even being aware of it, was that I was beginning to develop a unique style of my own. It was at this point that I came to the realization that painting was something I might be good at.”​

     While participating in the Rehab art program Buster became acquainted with a fellow mouth painter and quadriplegic by the name of Kim. She informed him of an organization that she belonged to by the name of Mouth and Foot Painting Artist, Inc. (MFPA) which supported her in her artistic endeavors. Kim expressed how much the organization meant to her and encouraged Buster to become a member.  

     It wasn’t long thereafter that he applied for membership and was accepted as a student member in 2007. MFPA has supported him in his pursuits as an artist ever since.

   ​Fast forward 16 years and painting is now at the center of Buster’s life. He paints at home for a few hours a day, several days a week, always with Bev at his side, and is amazed at how much a sense of purpose and fulfillment the process of painting gives him. Combine that with the relative newness of Maui, and hardly a day passes by without him being newly inspired. Through it all Buster makes it a point to never forget how it was that he got to where he is, and remains grateful to all those who have helped him along the way.

In 2016, Buster received the prestigious Gallery Of Distinguished Achievers Award from his alma mater St. Louis School.

Visit  Buster's Galleries of Art

Click Here for the Home Page