Hickory Springs announced that Bobby Wesley Bush Sr., 78, of Hickory, passed away Jan. 2, 2010, at Frye Regional Medical Center. Born March 12, 1931, in Rahway, N.J., he was the son of the late Julius Pinkney and Wilma Ware Bush. In addition to his parents, Mr. Bush was preceded in death by a son, John William Bush.
After graduating from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga., as the ranking cadet, Mr. Bush then graduated from Duke University, Class of 1953, Phi Beta Kappa.
Mr. Bush was a chief architect in the foundation and success of Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company. He devoted his entire professional career to the company.
Bush spent most of his summers as a youth working at Hickory Springs. His dedication and passion for the business was only surpassed by that for his family. He lived and breathed Hickory Springs.
Bob was a man of strong convictions and supported those convictions in all that he did. You knew where he stood and what he stood for. He was always thinking of ways to do things better, how to be more creative, and how to make the company stronger. That never lessened in those 50-plus years with the company.
Longtime family friend Don Coleman, president of Hickory Springs, had this to say about Bush in an inter-company memo: "His compassion for all of those he met was evident. He was more than just a sincere guy, he was always your greatest supporter. Work with him or for him and you knew immediately. He took great pride in the employees who worked for the betterment of the Company. Hickory Springs has lost a true pioneer in our business and in the industries we serve. We have so much to celebrate in having him with us for the past seventy-eight years. His legacy is with us, as is evident in what Hickory Springs is today."
Bob served on many boards within the home furnishings industry. These include the Suppliers Division of AHFA, International Sleep Products Association, Polyurethane Foam Association, the Bienenstock Furniture Library and the American Furniture Hall of Fame.
He was awarded the Exceptional Service Award and the McMorran Memorial Award given by the suppliers council within ISPA. He served as second president of the AFMA
Suppliers Council and in 2006 Bob was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. In 2008, Bob was awarded Alumni of the Year from Riverside Military Academy in Georgia.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jane Blackwood Bush of the home; two sons, Bobby Bush Jr. of Hickory and Jimmy Bush and wife, Donna, of Hickory; grandchildren, Stephanie Bush of Charlotte, Cory Bush of Mooresville, Lindsey Bush of Denver, Colo., Jay Bush of Raleigh and Amanda Bush of Raleigh; great-grandchildren, Jorge and Jake Bush of Charlotte; and a sister, Betty Bush Wright of Winchester, Va. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, at the Park Inn, 909 U.S. 70, conducted by the Rev. Ron Overcash. The family will receive friends tonight, Monday night, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bass-Smith Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Riverside Military Academy, 2001 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, Ga. 30501-1227, Hickory Choral Society, 243 Third Ave., NE, or Catawba Science Center, 243 Third Ave., NE. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.bass-smithfuneralhome.com. Bass-Smith Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family of Bobby Wesley Bush Sr.