Kenneth E. Bush, 86, of Milan, passed away Sunday April 5, 2020 at his home.
Private family services will be held Wednesday, April 8, at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 E. 4th Ave., Milan. A memorial funeral mass, celebration of his life and committal at National Cemetery will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to Alleman High School, St. Pius X Catholic Church, Rock Island, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Andalusia, or the Women’s Choice Center, Bettendorf.
Kenneth was born September 12, 1933 in Rock Island to Henry S. Bush and Irene Ryckaert Bush. He attended Alleman High School and the University of Illinois Agricultural Short Course. He took over the family farm at age 17 after the death of his father and expanded to Kenny Bush Farms. He has farmed in Milan and the Quad-Cities area his entire life.
He served two years in the United States Army during the Korean War, 1954-1956.
He married Marilyn Whitton, Rock Island, June 7, 1958 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rock Island. They have celebrated 61 years of married life. His greatest joy was his family and the farm. He was a member of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Andalusia. At St. Patrick’s he served as a Religious Education catechist in the Senior level.
Kenneth and Marilyn led the Andalusia Indians 4-H club in Rock Island County for 18 years. His memberships include, Rock Island County Farm Bureau- President for 6 years; Rock Island County Fair Association; Rock Island County Extension Council; State Farm Bureau Marketing Board; Antique Automobile Association; Rock Island Historical Society; Reynolds American Legion, Post 1166; and Deer Valley Collectors.
His passion was collecting all things agricultural, especially farm memorabilia and items of the past. These collections grew into a family museum telling his history in agriculture and local Quad-City history. He was honored as the 1965-1966 Illinois Outstanding Young Farmer. He then joined the Outstanding Farmers of America and traveled with them to several countries of the world. In 2011, he and Marilyn were the first inductees into the Rock Island County Farm Bureau Foundation’s Hall of Fame.
His great delight was hosting the grandchildren for “Boys and Girls” weeks at the farm. The experience of staying on the farm taught them the value of hard work, but also having fun. Together they repaired many antique machines until they were show worthy. He originated “Grandkids Pumpkin Days” for them and it became a memorable event for families in the area.
Surviving are his wife, Marilyn, of Milan; children, Kevin (Melinda) Bush, Northville, Michigan, Teresa Bush (Timothy) Dunbar, Cumming, Iowa, Karen Bush (Mark) Jackson, Milan, Steven (Julie) Bush, Milan, Martin Bush, Rock Island; grandchildren, Cassie Earel, Michael Earel, Conrad Bush, Megan Dunbar (Michael) Nick, Brendan (Laura) Dunbar, Kara Dunbar (Andrew) Pick, Katherin Jackson (Timothy) Franklin, Eric (Erin) Jackson, Sarah Bush (Tyler) Graybill, Nathan (Chelsea) Bush, Amanda Bush (Levi) Schilling, Harrison Bush and Reagan Bush; 17 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Elaine Bush Belshause, Orion, Illinois.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his father; mother; one brother, Rev. Edward Bush; and one sister, Angela Bush Lommell.