My father, MERLIN “MERLE” ERNEST BUSH, passed away on November 26, 2021, at the ripe old age of 92, surrounded by those he loved. Born in Muskegon, Michigan, on March 2, 1929, to Grover and Lillian Bush, his father worked in a factory and his mother was a schoolteacher. He had an older sister named Lorraine. Growing up, Dad enjoyed fishing, playing baseball and following the Detroit Tigers. He cheated death as a teen when he had to be resuscitated by two Coast Guardsmen at the YMCA. After high school, Dad went to Michigan State College (now University) and earned a Business Administration degree. He soon joined the Army during the Korean War. In the Army, he trained as a Bulgarian translator and was sent to Germany to monitor Bulgarian military air traffic control. While in Germany, he met Cecilia Huebner, who eventually became my mother. After the war, Dad’s parents sponsored my mother so she could come to the US. He used the GI Bill to go back to Michigan State and earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He used that experience to work for oil refinery companies throughout his career, eventually retiring from Ashland Oil. My father lost many people over the years including his parents, Grover and Lillian, his sister, Lorraine VerHage, his wife, Cecilia, his daughter, Erika Mintess, a cousin, Mike VerHage, and his true love, Judy Ridings, who he met at 82 years young. He loved to read mystery novels and watch baseball. Michigan State sports or just Big-10 was always his first choice. He and I would go to baseball games whenever we could and enjoyed our Sunday drives. He taught me how to love unconditionally, be kind to everyone, to never regret by living every day to the fullest, and to enjoy ice cream as much as possible. People who will have to try to carry on without him include me, his son Brendan (Angie) Bush, his grandsons, Michael (Shauna) Smith and Matthew (Chanelle) Smith, and great-grandchildren, Brittany Ledson, Devin, Delilah, Kaiden and Evan Smith; cousins, Jim (Sue) VerHage, Larry (Lana) VerHage, Brian (Kathy) VerHage; and extended family and close friends. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to his beloved caregivers who helped us keep him comfortable in his home, Susan Adkins, Doris Noel, Misty Childers, Jessica Butler and their families. My Dad was the nicest person you could ever meet. He was easy to talk to and made friends easily. Up until the end he was always someone I went to for advice. He was very smart and approachable. He gave my sister and me every opportunity to succeed in life. You could not ask for a better father. Many people will miss my father now that he is in a better place. None will miss him more than me. RIP Dad. Memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 4, 2021, at Wallace Funeral Home & Chapel, Barboursville, by Pastor John C. Minihan. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to my Dad’s favorite local charity, Huntington City Mission, or Hospice of Huntington, who treated my father with all the love and respect he deserved in his final days. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

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