In Memoriam, FEB (@tntech.edu)

(With apologies to Tennyson, but the title hopefully brings a slight smile to the mix of tech geeks and literary geeks that Frank knew over the years. The below is from the local paper’s obituary, in case they take it offline later.)

Friday, Jan 02, 2009

COOKEVILLE — A memorial Mass of the Resurrection for Frank E. Bush, 62, will be held Saturday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

Family will receive friends today, Friday, Jan. 2, from 4-7 p.m., with a prayer vigil and time of reflection service at 7 p.m. at the church. The family invites friends and colleagues to come and share stories and memories of Mr. Bush to honor the passing of a beloved father, husband, mentor and friend.

Mr. Bush died suddenly Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, in Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

He was born Aug. 6, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio, to the late Frances Edward and Julia Elizabeth Vasko Bush.

Mr. Bush was an active member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church since 1975. He led the music ministry at St. Thomas Aquinas with his wife, Sheila, for 25 years, in addition to organizing and leading the Search program, an interfaith retreat for students from Tennessee Technological University. He had been actively involved in music ministry for the past seven years at St. Alphonsus Catholic Community in Crossville. Since 1988, Mr. Bush served as scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 156 of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 15 and mentored many young men to the same accomplishment over his 15 years as a devoted and respected leader.

Mr. Bush graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1970, with a bachelor of science degree in business management. His career at TTU spanned more than 36 years. He was the assistant director and manager of systems support at TTU and was an integral and vital part of the Computer Center. Mr. Bush’s leadership and solid professionalism has been a guiding light at Tennessee Technological University for many years and will be sorely missed.

His family includes his wife of 29 years, Sheila Beazley Bush of Cookeville; a son, Stephen Wyatt Bush of Cookeville; two daughters and a son-in-law, Catherine Bush and James Rushing of Fayetteville, N.C., and Sarah Elizabeth Bush of Cookeville; his mother-in-law, Mickey Beazley of Nashville; six brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Randy Beazley and wife Pam Palmer, Donna Drinkwine, Rickey Beazley and Rip Beazley and wife Marge Wozny, all of Nashville, Rusty Beazley and wife Lisa Mote of Newborn, Ga., and Laurie Beazley and husband John Wells of Lafayette; and a host of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Bush was preceded in death by a sister, Theresa Ann Falls; a brother-in-law, Frank Drinkwine; and his father-in-law, Raymond Beazley.

Honorary pallbearers at the Mass of the Resurrection will be the Boy Scouts of the Upper Cumberland District.

Memorial donations may be made to the Frank Bush Memorial Fund, 107 N. Dixie Ave., Cookeville, TN 38501.

Fathers Don Loskot and Jim Harvey will officiate the services.

Since Sheila had asked for us to share Frank stories at the visitation today, in generally chronological order, and as true as I can remember them:

- 1 -

The first time I met Frank must have been in August or September 1990, shortly after an Honors 101 class on using the university VMS system for email and such. I actually wasn’t in this particular class, but my friend Bill Langston and I had spent several weeks prior to it tweaking some slightly more user-friendly methods we’d inherited to help people maintain an email address book. We’d tested and tested this stuff, written up notes and documentation for whoever was going to be conducting the class, etc. because both Bill and I were taking another class at that time.

As it turns out, our procedures worked fine as long as the user had a data file in place before they ran the procedure. We’d never tested under that condition. As it turned out, if that data file was missing, the procedure would go into a tight infinite loop looking for the data file over and over. Now the VAX node the class was conducted on (an 11/785, maybe?) could barely handle 30 people being logged in at once, so having 30 people following the teacher’s instructions of “now that everybody’s got the new login.com file, to keep from having to log you back out and in again, everyone type @login and hit the Enter key… now” brought the poor thing to its knees. In all honesty, it probably put its knees through the raised floor in the machine room and put a dent in the concrete below.

So when Bill and I exit our class at 1:30, we head over to the main Computer Center terminal room to check our email for a bit before getting lunch. I swear, not 30 seconds after we logged in, Frank walks up behind us and introduces himself. Accompanying him were Mike Wheeler and Chuck Wilson, the rest of the systems support group. I very dimly remember that meeting now, probably from shock at the time. I know Frank said a few things, nothing angry, and left shortly afterwards. Mike showed us VMS lexical functions to check for a file’s existence before blindly opening it. Frank didn’t disable our accounts.

- 2 -

I think Frank once mentioned that his family originally came over from the eastern half of Europe, surname of Busho, perhaps? Ever since then, I’ve always imagined Frank looked just like Mr. Prosser from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — that his ancestors conquered a goodly portion of Eurasia through horses, archery, and axes. Sometimes Frank would force a smile in response to something annoying him; I always thought he was hearing a thousand hairy horsemen shouting in his head.

And sure, my geography and history may be muddled, but it’s the thought that counts here.

- 3 -

Late one Friday night in August 1994, on the last day of my co-op work period in Oak Ridge, my friend Chuck Ransom died in a car wreck on his way to Cookeville. He was going to stop there overnight before he and some other of our friends were going to help Carolyn and I move back to Cookeville from Oak Ridge. I drove down that Saturday morning expecting to meet Chuck, his girlfriend Robin, and Mel Gold so that we’d all caravan back up to Oak Ridge to load up, drive back to Cookeville, and move everybody in. Instead, I find Robin and Mel after they’d been up most of the night crying. This wasn’t the sort of news you’d lay out over the phone if you had any other option, and they hadn’t found out themselves until very late that night. While Robin and Mel finished getting cleaned up for the rest of the day, I tried to find Bill to tell him the bad news. Couldn’t find him at home, so I thought he might have an early shift working the printer/plotter window at the Computer Center. He wasn’t there, but Frank and the systems group were there doing some maintenance or other work. I expect I looked like hell, and Frank asked me what was wrong. I don’t remember how much crying I did then, but Frank hugged me, and after a while, I went on my way, and he went back to work.

- 4 -

Frank let me work on the music and support team at Search for quite some time, despite having no real musical training or instrumental talent. He never told me I couldn’t sing. He didn’t bar me when once I accidentally started singing a completely different song halfway through our previously-agreed-upon song, and took a sizable fraction of the Search team along with me.

- 5 -

When Krissy Bright and I were working up materials for the first team meeting for the Re-Search we led in the fall of 1997, we found a lot of what we thought were useful thematic elements from this book (what can I say except that some Searches were really interfaith?). We sent out a mass email to the incoming team, and also to Frank (one of our permanent advisors), with teasers for what we’d be doing the first meeting, promising various weighty discussions into “ovine ontology”. I remember running into Frank later that day, but all I remember him saying was “Sheep, Mike?”

I knew in 1988 or 1989 that I wanted to be an engineer, despite having few to no examples in my family or direct experience. But not too long after that, Frank, Mike, and Joel gave me examples for being a systems administrator. Today, I’m a bit of both. I never worked directly for Frank in any technical capacity, but he always demonstrated the best ideals for that sort of work. Frank was an awesome guy, and I’ll miss him terribly, as will everyone who knew him.

4 Comments

  1. Posted February 16, 2009 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this, Mike. It was a good read.

    -Stephen

  2. Sheila Bush
    Posted February 17, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    This means the world to me, Mike, that you went home and just started writing out memories you have of Frank.

    Thank you for taking my words to heart…I am grateful.

    ~Sheila

  3. Sarah Bush
    Posted February 17, 2009 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Mike! Every memory I read about Dad is a treasure. And you’re right, by the way, about his heritage. :)

  4. James Rushing
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Mike! It’s taken me a while to see this, but I enjoyed seeing your thoughts. I loved the image from HHG — Frank and Mr. Prosser works. :)

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