Prescott Sheldon Bush Jr., after a long illness, has died in Hingham, MA where he and his beloved wife Elizabeth, moved three years ago. Son of the late Senator and Mrs. Prescott S. Bush, brother of President George H.W. Bush and uncle of President George W. Bush, Mr. Bush was a retired insurance executive who loved life, family and friends and lived with a spirit of abundance.
Mr. Bush was born in Portland, Maine on August 10th, 1922, while his father was on the golf course in Kennebunkport, circumstances which foreshadowed much of his young son’s life to come. Pres Bush, as he was known to family and friends, grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, the oldest of five. He attended Greenwich Country Day School, Phillips Academy Andover and Yale University (’44).
After Yale he went to Brazil to help Pan American Airways build and operate airfields there. While in Brazil, the most important event of his life came when he courted and married Elizabeth Kauffman. Pres and Beth Bush lived in Rio de Janeiro for 4 years where they had a son, Prescott III, and a daughter, Kelsey. In 1949, they moved to Greenwich, CT, as Mr. Bush had taken a job in New York City with Pan Am. In 1955, they had a second son, Jamie, and Mr. Bush took a job as an account executive with Johnson & Higgins, insurance brokers on Wall Street. Over the years he became a partner at Johnson & Higgins and travelled a good deal internationally, something he enjoyed doing the rest of his life. Upon retirement from Johnson & Higgins, Mr. Bush became a consultant, introducing many American businesses to China and was a founder of the United States-China Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Bush was an engaged resident of Greenwich from the moment he and his family returned from Brazil, serving as a member of the Representative Town Meeting, Chairman of the Republican Town Committee, multiple non-profit boards and as a prodigious giver and fund raiser for the American Red Cross, the Greenwich Hospital, Christ Church, the Community Chest, and the YMCA, among many others. Beyond Greenwich he and his wife were also active in serving the poor through Portchester’s Carver Center, where he served for years as Chairman of the Board, and Family Reentry, a prison ministry based in Norwalk, CT where Mrs. Bush was a co-founding volunteer for 20 years.
Throughout the 1950’s, 60s and 70s Mr. Bush was deeply engaged in Connecticut politics behind the scenes as an advisor, fundraiser, and manager for multiple campaigns for the state legislature, the US Congress and the presidency. He also served for many years as one of Greenwich’s representatives to the Republican Party’s State Central Committee. In 1982, he was himself a candidate, briefly, for the US Senate seat his father had held for two terms before withdrawing for the sake of party unity.
An enthusiastic alumni of Andover and Yale, from whence came many of his hundreds of good friends, Mr. Bush was doubly passionate about the game of golf with which he had a lifelong love affair. As a member of the United States Golf Association’s executive committee he championed the USGA’s Public Links efforts and bringing women into the ranks of professional golf. He was a member of Britain’s Royal & Ancient as well as numerous golf courses around the country. He was an architect and developer of the Griffith Harris public golf course in Greenwich. In 1990, he celebrated a decade of work with the opening of the first premier quality golf club in China, the Shanghai Country Club of which he was the principal driver having recruited and worked with golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. to develop it.
A lover of close harmony, opera and great choir music, Mr. Bush was a member of the Whiffenpoofs of Yale, with whom he sang and enjoyed great fellowship for many years, and invested time and money in the worship program at Christ Church Greenwich.
Above all else, he was a devoted family man whose philanthropy started at home. His marriage of 66 years to Mrs. Bush is a model of giving, fidelity and love for those who know them. There was nothing he would not do for his children and grandchildren, and adopted their spouses as his own. He was blessed by extremely close relationships with his four siblings, his mother Dorothy Walker Bush, and his father Prescott S Bush, both also of Greenwich.
Mr. Bush was predeceased by both his parents and his son Prescott Bush III. He leaves behind his precious wife Elizabeth, his daughter Kelsey Bush- Nadeau and her husband Philip G. Nadeau of Willistion, VT, and his son James L. and his wife Susan C. Bush of Hingham, MA, and his six grandchildren, Elizabeth Nadeau, Katherine Nadeau, Sarah Bush Richey and her husband Drake Richey, Samuel P. Bush, William Nadeau and his wife Lydia, and Prescott Nadeau.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Family ReEntry, 9 Mott Avenue, Suite 104, Norwalk, CT 06850 or AmeriCares, 88 Hamilton Ave, Stamford, CT USA 06902.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 30th at Christ Church Greenwich, Greenwich, CT at 12 pm.