Obituary: Jess Richard Bushman

Published: Thursday, Feb. 23 2006 2:56 p.m. MST

Jess Richard Bushman 1921 ~ 2006 Jess Richard Bushman passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones February 19, 2006. He was born 12 May 1921 in American Fork, Utah to Homer Frederick and Jessie Elizabeth Green Bushman. He spent most of his childhood in Salt Lake City graduating from East High School and spent one semester at the University of Utah. He then succumbed to the pressure of family tradition set first by his grandfather then his father and mother and enrolled in BYU to try it for one semester and stayed. It was shortly after the end of World War II and he was asked to be in charge of cleaning the "Y" which hadn't been cleaned and repaired since the war began. While an undergraduate he served as Student Body Vice-president, earned a letter in athletics as a member of the wrestling team, became president of Blue Key and was a primary force in establishing the Honor Code on the BYU campus. He presented it to the faculty assembled in the Maeser building for their approval. He was also involved in initiating the process which led to establishing the Wagon Wheel as the symbol of victory for the winner of the football game between Utah State University and BYU. He married Mildred Price and they had five children. They were later divorced. In 1984 he married Mary Whittaker Gregory. Jess obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University and did the field work for his dissertation in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Government invited him to return for two years to map and study the resources of a 500 square mile area adjacent to the area where he had done his doctoral study. They offered him a permanent position there as professor at the University of Caracas and with their Geological Survey. His children soaked up the Spanish language as they interacted with the children there but he felt his family would be better off in America in the long run and so chose to return to BYU. During World War II Jess participated in the Battle of the Bulge and served in occupied Germany as an agent of the Criminal Investigation Division. He served for a short time as chaplain for a troop transport ship. A major part of his life has been involved with BYU, first as a student and then as a professor teaching Geology for over 30 years. He taught a course specially structured to prepare future teachers to teach Earth Science in the public schools. This led him to become deeply involved in public education. He was put in charge of a three year state wide effort to investigate the problems of science education in our schools. In 1986 Jess was awarded the designation of Outstanding Utah Science Educator of the Year. He served as a Spanish-American missionary in his youth and in 1990 he and wife Mary were called to serve in the Spain-Bilbao mission. He has enjoyed many teaching and leadership callings in the church and has been involved in many activities of community service. He is survived by his loving wife Mary, five children: Russell of Salt Lake City; Douglas (Kim) of Houston, TX; Derek (Cheryl) of St. Louis, MO; Robin (Jim) Buckwalter of Farmington, UT; David (Noriko) of San Jose, CA; and two step-children: Jim (Dana) Gregory of Ft. Collins, CO; and Susan Gregory of Provo; 25 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 25, 2006, at 11:00 a.m., in the Slate Canyon 4th Ward LDS Chapel, 715 South Utah Ave., Provo. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Friday evening, from 6-8 pm., or Saturday morning, at the Ward Chapel, one hour prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery. Full military rites will be accorded by the VFW District #4. Condolences may be sent to info@BergMortuary.com.

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