An unlikely couple, J. Kenneth "Ken" Bush, a country boy from Edison, and Elizabeth H. "Liz" Bush, a city girl from Mount Gilead, each got a second chance at love, finding their perfect counterpart in one another. Befittingly, they left this world together on Monday evening, June 30, 2014. Their life stories can only be told as they lived… as one.
On July 31, 1945, Ken was born in Galion, Ohio, the youngest of four children of the late Raymond B. and Doris "Marie" (Wolf) Bush. He was raised on the family farm near Edison, and graduated from Mount Gilead High School in the Class of 1963, where he excelled at football and basketball, and was co-captain on the only undefeated Mount Gilead High School football team in school's history in 1962. He also was chosen to attend Buckeye Boys State.
On December 5, 1948, Liz was born in Marion, Ohio, the youngest of three daughters of the late John W. and Helen E. (Wagner) Mathews. She was raised in Mount Gilead, and graduated from Mount Gilead High School in the Class of 1966.
From the day Ken was born, he was a farmer. When he was only 9 years old and his older brother Harold was only 11, their father Raymond was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. They both immediately stepped up to help him run their family farm, learning to "be a man before they were finished being boys." At that time the focus of their farm was mainly dairy with some grain, until the late 1960's when they sold their cows and focused their attention on grain farming. Ken and Harold operated Bush Brother's Farm together for over 50 years. They were a great team, each having different strengths, with some of Ken's being maintaining and operating their grain dryer and his persistence to improve and expand their operating and storage systems. He worked from dusk till dawn on the farm for most of his life, but for Ken it wasn't work, it was his life's passion; so essentially "he didn't have to work a day in his whole life."
Liz started her career with Allen Vail in the Northgate Community, where she helped sell mobile homes and assisted in the office. Then, she joined the offices of Ron Harper Realty and Joseph Ball Insurance as their receptionist after they bought the Northgate Park and Northgate Sales. They also shared an office with Delbert Davis of Davis Distributing. In addition to being the receptionist for Ron and Joe's businesses, she also managed the fuel oil business for Delbert. Then, when Delbert moved his business to service Marathon's fuel distribution, she went with him to manage sales and bookkeeping for his business. Lastly, she held the same position for the Central Ohio Farmer's Co-Op in Mount Gilead, until her retirement in 2013.
Ken and Liz knew of one another being just a few years apart in school, but finally got the chance to be acquainted one serendipitous afternoon at an ice cream social at the square in Mount Gilead in 1983. She immediately found the quickest way to Ken's heart, ice cream. From that day forward their love continued to grow, like the crops in Ken's fields, each of them embracing their differences and immediately fitting in with each other's families. After a two year courtship, they were married on August 24, 1985, at the First Baptist Church in Mount Gilead. For the next 29 years, they would be by each other's side through thick and thin.
Both of deep faith, Ken was a lifelong member of the Edison United Methodist Church, where he served as an elder. Liz was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church in Mount Gilead, where she sang in the choir and served as treasurer, and in her younger days she also attended the Trinity United Methodist Church. Wanting to honor each other's churches, faiths, and friends, they took turns going to both churches.
Dedicated to the Edison and Mount Gilead community, Ken and Liz believed in being "neighborly," always lending a helping hand to anyone in need. Ken would gladly help other farmers with their crops, as he believed he wasn't done farming until everyone around him was done farming. He also was a FSA County Committee member and Ohio Corn Grower's Association member for many years. While Ken tried to feed the world, Liz dedicated herself to trying to clothe the world. For the past 29 years, she has been an integral member of the Mount Gilead Clothes Closet, her role was to contact the many volunteers who give so freely of their time to clothe needy area school children. She served the club tirelessly in other capacities too. She also was a founding member of the Little Prides and Joys Mother's Club for 43 years.
Avid supporters of Mount Gilead High School, Ken and Liz attended every event possible. In addition, Ken served on the Mount Gilead School Board for several years, and some of those years he had served as president of the board. He also was honored to have been inducted into the Mount Gilead Athletic Hall of Fame, and to earn their "Citizen of the Year" award in 2011.
One of Ken and Liz's favorite getaways was visiting the appropriately named "No-Nox" cottage on Lake Erie, which was built by Liz's grandparents back in the 1930's. This is where Ken would turn for peace, solitude and uninterrupted sleep. This is a great example of the positive influence Liz was on his life, as she was the first person who could ever "get him away from his dirt." They enjoyed many travels, always managing to find an ice cream shop along the way, and they loved going to OSU basketball games together.
Having a tremendous circle of friends, Ken and Liz loved going to dinner with their many friends and with their "Supper Club."
Liz was a strong and independent woman, who also had a huge heart, caring deeply for her family, friends, and her beloved "herd of cats." Surprisingly enough to everyone who knew her, becoming a farmer's wife "turned out to be her calling." She loved to spoil Ken and his family with her excellent cooking, whether they were out at "The Shack" on the farm or just stopping into the house. For Holly, she was the "bestest Mom ever." She also was the best supporter Ken could ever have, pushing him whenever he needed pushed. Despite his battle with Parkinson's, she made it her mission that he would "never lose his dignity"…mission accomplished Liz!
Ken was a man of integrity, a man of few words and high expectations. He was a fearless man of the earth, who could fix anything, and could come up with a plan for any challenge they faced. He was a great mentor, and was extremely proud to have his son Anthony follow in his footsteps carrying on the family farm.
Left to cherish their memories are Ken's three children: Angie Bush of Edison, Eric (Cheryl) Bush of Westerville, and Anthony (Teresa) Bush of Mount Gilead; Liz's daughter, Holly (Branch) Wayt of Westerville; nine grandchildren: Andrea and Heather Bush, Amanda and Darren Bush, Jake Wayt, Stephen and Anthony Jarvis, Tina (Jim) Dodt, and Shelly (Chris) Toombs; five great-grandchildren; Ken's two sisters and one brother: Phylis Miller of Mount Gilead, Marilyn (Howard) Huston of Marion, and Harold Bush of Edison; Liz's sister, Patricia (Fred) Jolley of Arvada, Colorado; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Including their parents, Ken was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Jim Miller; and Liz was preceded in death by her sister, Judy Brush; and a nephew, Matt Jolley.
Their family will greet friends from 2 – 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 6th, at the Mount Gilead High School, 338 W. Park Ave., Mount Gilead. Services celebrating their lives together will also be held at the high school at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, with Pastors Ron Davis, Josh and Kelly Melvin, and Matt Skelton officiating. Burial will follow in Worden Cemetery in Edison. Following their services, family and friends are invited to share in a meal in their honor at the Morrow County Fairgrounds in the 4H Youth Building.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Mount Gilead Clothes Closet, c/o Lois Weaston, 15 E. High St., Mount Gilead, OH 43338, and the Edison Enterprise Baptist Church, c/o Food Pantry, 3055 St. T. 95, Edison, OH 43320.
Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead are honored to have been chosen to serve Ken and Liz's family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com.