Jim's Story

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James G. “Jim” Bush, longtime Woodward resident passed away on May 31, 2015. Jim was originally from Shattuck, born April 21, 1926, the only child of parents, Roy and Irene Bush, and graduated from Shattuck High School in 1944. As a child, Jim began his interest in music, playing the clarinet and winning state awards. He also developed his travel bug early, often hitching a ride on the trains headed to Woodward, in order to get to local swimming holes and see friends. Jim left Shattuck the day after high school graduation to enter the U. S. Navy and there began his dream of being a pilot. He spent 26 months in the Navy, stationed at several locales including Corpus Christi, Texas, St. Mary’s College in Oakland, California and Memphis, Tennessee before being honorably discharge in 1947 due to the end of the war. Later in life Jim often lamented that he would have preferred to continue as a Navy pilot through a full career. Nevertheless his Aviation Cadet experience led to a lifelong interest and pursuit of flying and general aviation. Jim then entered the University of Oklahoma where he graduated in 1950. During this time, he met Ramona Wilson of Woodward, and they were married in 1949. Jim and Ramona (Mona) loved their college life in Norman, living a block from the football stadium on campus. In order to partially pay for college, Jim played saxophone in a couple of jazz bands every weekend. Even recently Jim commented how he still loved the music of Benny Goodman, clarinetist Artie Shaw, Count Basie and Stan Kenton. He continued this music sideline after he and Mona returned to Woodward after college including playing in the Elks Rodeo Band for years. In Woodward, they had three children, a son, Tony, and daughters Kelly and Kris. The family were longtime members of the First Presbyterian Church in Woodward where Jim and Mona both sang in the choir for decades. Jim is remembered as a devoted and loving father who enjoyed lots of fun with his kids and Mona. They boated and skied at Lake Fort Supply, had many horses at the family farm; he really never said “no” when his three girls brought the next stray animal home. Jim also loved the years of watching his daughters play high school basketball. All this family devotion carried on through his grandkids activities. Jim simply loved doing things with his family and big group of friends and neighbors. Jim’s occupation was as primary contractor and eventual owner of Lee Wilson Construction Company in Woodward. Many of Woodward’s commercial buildings were built by the company and through Jim’s work. He retired the company in the mid-1980's, but continued to manage or build local commercial properties. Undoubtedly the biggest joy and favorite pursuit that Jim engaged was flying as a private pilot. He owned three different airplanes, but mostly loved his V-tailed Beechcraft Bonanza. Jim had over 3500 hours flying in his log book, mostly locally but also took cross-country flights and additionally used the airplane during his construction business years. He loved to travel and took many trips with friends and family. Jim snowed and water-skied, and continued to attend or follow OU football as faithfully as any Oklahoman. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 25 years, Ramona, and son Tony. Surviving family include both daughters, Kelly Bush and partner Russ Dalton of Rockport, Washington; Kris Estep and husband Tom Estep of Woodward; grandchildren Kyle Estep of Kirkland, Washington and Michele Estep of Moore, Oklahoma; special friend Pat Bynum of Cave Springs, Arkansas and her family. A memorial service will be held Friday, June 5, at 2:00 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church in Woodward. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family suggests memorial contributions to WOOF Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 1389, Woodward, Ok. 73802 Jim’s family would like to thank the staff at Mooreland Heritage Manor, Dr. Kenan Kirkendall and especially Toni Robertson, RN of Woodward Regional Hospital. Remembrances may be made at www.billingsfuneralhomewoodward.com
Published on  June 2, 2015
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