Illustrator of Scout Life’s ‘Gus’ cartoon has died; his last drawing will melt your heart

Orlando Busino, longtime contributor to Boys’ Life and, later, Scout Life, has died. He was 95. Busino was the artist who created ‘Gus,’ the lovable large white dog who first graced the pages of Boys’ Life in January 1970 and was featured in almost every issue since. The last ‘Gus’ cartoon will appear in the April 2022 issue of Scout Life.

“I’ve always enjoyed working for Boys’ Life, and now Scout Life,” Busino told us in an interview last fall, after he was honored for his 52 years of contributions to the BSA at a camporee sponsored by the Powahay and Scatacook districts of the Connecticut Yankee Council. “I try to do the best kind of humor I can. I try to make sure everybody enjoys what I do. I enjoy doing it myself.”

A talented artist

Busino draws Gus at a camporee hosted by the Powahay and Scatacook districts of the Connecticut Yankee Council.

In addition to his work for the BSA, Busino contributed art to McCall’s magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science, True magazine, Reader’s Digest, The American Legion magazine, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal.

‘Gus’ is considered a gag cartoon – a single panel, usually with a caption under the drawing. Fittingly, Busino was named the National Cartoonists Society’s Magazine Gag Cartoonist of the Year three times.

Busino is survived by his wife, Ann. The couple was married for 70 years.

The family encourages those who are interested in honoring Busino to donate to the International Rescue Committee, or the charity of their choice.

You can read more about Busino’s work for the BSA in our story from last fall.

His last piece of art

At the camporee last fall, Connecticut Yankee Council Scout Executive Mark Kraus had the honor of presenting Busino with a plaque that recognized Busino’s decades of work for Boys’ Life and Scout Life.

“He was just a wonderful, very, very kind man,” says Kraus.

As Busino was creating pieces of art for the Scouts in attendance, Kraus asked him if he could draw something for him.

“He said, ‘I want to draw something special for you,’ ” Kraus says.

A few weeks later, the artwork shown below arrived at Kraus’ office, where it still hangs, framed. The cartoon shows Gus, resting contentedly, dreaming of being an Eagle Scout. Ann Busino confirms that this is the last piece of art her husband created.

“It’s one I will cherish,” says Kraus. “I’ll hang on to it forever.”



About Aaron Derr 391 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.