Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Allen William Bush was born on April 28, 1923, as the oldest child of Mildred and Lewis Bush in Parchment. He passed away on Sept. 9, 2013, following lengthy treatments for numerous medical issues.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lois; and his two children, Allen S. (Cindy), of Traverse City, and Garry L. (Becky), of Gaithersburg, Md., and their families, which includes four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Barbara Gruizinga and Audrey Merrill.
Al graduated from Kalamazoo University High School in 1941 and enrolled at Western Michigan University.
He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January of 1942 and served from 1942 to 1946 with 21 months in the South Pacific Islands before being selected to receive Officer Training and a college education in the V-12 program.
He played varsity football and baseball at Princeton until he was transferred back to Western Michigan University in 1946. He then graduated from Western with a B.S. degree and an officer’s commission. While at Western he was the captain of the football team and its most valuable player.
After graduation from college he taught mathematics and coached various sports for Battle Creek Central High School.
He was then recalled to the Marine Corps in 1951 during the Korean War.
Upon discharge he resumed his coaching and teaching career at Kalamazoo University High, Dearborn High and Bay City Handy High School. In 1953 during his time at Dearborn High, he earned his master’s degree from the University of Michigan. In 1960 he was hired by the Michigan High School Athletic Association as an assistant director. He was promoted to associate director in 1963 and then he became the executive director of the association from 1968 to 1978. During his tenure as the executive director he added numerous athletic tournaments in the schools and most notably began the steady addition of female athletic programs in the secondary schools in the State of Michigan.
During his tenure and after retiring he served on numerous rules and sports committees and was awarded the Western Michigan Man of the year (1975), the National Association Sports Award and many other honors. He also served as the manager of the USA Basketball team to the World games in Australia in 1978.
In 1980 he became an assistant professor for sports administration for Biscayne Bay College and worked there until 1983 when he returned full time to his home on Cub Lake in Kalkaska County.
He was the president of the Bear Lake Township Improvement Association (1984-‘85), a member of the Kalkaska Board of Education (1984-‘85) and a treasurer of the WMU alumni chapter (1992-‘94). He was also inducted into the Western Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. In addition he was a longtime member of the Michigan Sports Sages.
His family is grateful to Munson Medical Center staff and the staff of the Munson Healthcare Dialysis Center, to all of the doctors, notably Drs. Burke and Amanzadeh, and to all of the staff who treated him so well over the past years.
A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Central United Methodist Church, 222 Cass Street, Traverse City, with Pastor Dale Ostema officiating. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m., also at the church. Interment will be in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Galesburg on Monday, Sept. 16, at 10 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Mike Gary Athletic Fund, Western Michigan University, Read Fieldhouse, 1903 Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5406.
Please share your memories of Al with his family by way of his online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Traverse City.