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Memorial service honoring life, legacy of Dr. Ebenezer Bush, Jr., Friday

Memorial service at Christ Second Baptist Church, 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Long Beach, Friday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. COMPTON (MNS) — A memorial service to honor the life and legacy of esteem dentist,

Memorial service at Christ Second Baptist Church, 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Long Beach, Friday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m.

COMPTON (MNS) — A memorial service to honor the life and legacy of esteem dentist, Dr. Ebenezer Bush, Jr., DDS (“E.B.”), occurs Friday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. at Christ Second Baptist Church, 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Long Beach, Calif.

Dr. Ebenezer Bush, D.D.S.

Dr. Ebenezer Bush, D.D.S.

Dr. Bush (“E.B.”) was born on March 20, 1920, in Shreveport, La. His distinguished journey on Earth came to a close on Aug. 16, 2016.

Bush graduated from Shreveport’s Central Colored High School, prior to being admitted to the Tuskegee Institute as a working student during the day and taking classes at night. After graduating from Tuskegee, Bush taught high school agriculture until the outbreak of World War II. During the war, he served three years in the army, including a tour of duty in the Pacific theater. While in the army, Bush met and married, Wynona Joan Barrett in 1948 in Muskogee, Okla. Following discharge from military service, Bush was accepted into Howard University’s School of Dentistry, graduating in 1952.

Bush moved to Long Beach, Calif. in 1954 where he became the first African-American to establish a dental practice there. Later, he opened a second practice in Compton, where he practiced dentistry faithfully up until a few years ago.

Dr. E.B. and Wynona raised two sons in Long Beach—both of whom became doctors themselves.  His oldest son, Dr. David Bush, an associate professor of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University, passed last year. His other son, Dr. Ronald Bush, is a board-certified internist practicing in Palm Desert, Calif., who achieved “Top Doctor” award status.

As a father, Bush instilled in his sons the work ethic he was known for and the passion for lifelong education to which he and his wife were dedicated. He also infused into them in his love of fishing, traveling across the country every summer to national points of interest, enthusiastically encouraging them to pursue their own endeavors, hobbies, sports, and avocations. He supported his wife of 65 years throughout her 30-year career as an elementary school teacher, and he often spoke proudly of her generosity to her family, students, church, community, and the achievement of her status as a master teacher.

Bush used his own background and the humble beginnings of earning 15 cents an hour in the Louisiana cotton fields as motivation to promote his lifelong commitments and his single-minded focus on community and economic development, education, civil rights, and employment. As he invested in these pursuits he became a master dentist (requiring 500 hours of continuing practical and written work), and pioneer in the emerging field of dental implant surgery.

He also completed a postgraduate residency in anesthesia at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center which enabled him to use state-of-the-art sedation techniques in his dental practice. His years in Long Beach groomed him as an avid entrepreneur and a deacon in his beloved Christ Second Baptist Church. During his many years in Long Beach, Dr. Bush brought his unique style of passion and leadership to numerous organizations.

Bush founded Project Tutor, an organization to help kids read, became the precursor to the area’s Head Start Program. He was a founding member of the Bougess-White Scholarship Foundation, worked with Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to resolve employment discrimination, and was a Golden Heritage member of the NAACP. In addition, Bush served as a charter investor and first president of Long Beach Community Credit Union and served as a board member of the Long Beach City College Foundation.

Bush also played a distinctive role in the harbor development as a member of the Long Beach Planning Commission by pressing the Board to transform the neglected Long Beach Harbor area into the city-wide and national tourist attraction it is today.

Bush is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the National Dental Association, and the American Dental Association of which he is a lifetime member. Other professional accomplishments at the national and local level include: American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists fellow; Pierre Fauchard Academy fellow; member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry; member of the Academy of Implants and Transplants; Union Rescue Mission volunteer dentist (15 years); American Free Clinic volunteer dentist (4 years).

Locally, Bush served as former chairman of the Ethics Committee, Harbor Dental Society; former program chairman of Continuing Education, Angel City Dental Society; and dental director of the Charles Drew Medical School Head Start Program. Additionally, Bush achieved the honor of Master of the Academy of General Dentistry.

With numerous inroads in the field of dentistry, Bush received numerous awards. The Academy of Implants and Transplants bestowed on him their Award of Appreciation for “achieving the highest standards of professional integrity and recognition in the field of dentistry.”  Family Service of Long Beach presented him with the Family Life Award; and, he received the key to the city of Long Beach.

Dr. Bush has been honored by both Howard University and the Tuskegee Institute as a distinguished alumnus, and he and Mrs. Bush received jointly received the Humanitarian award from the California Conference for Equality and Justice, and the NAACP Lifetime Achievement award.

Additionally, Dr. and Mrs. Bush were invited guests to the White House in 1991 during the administration of President George H.W. Bush in honor of their civic and philanthropic contributions.

Although quietly making a difference in many lives and communities, Dr. Bush was an uncommonly eloquent speaker, who “knew no strangers” and believed in the idea that it is far better to give people the resources and “teach a man to fish.” He was known for telling stories with a lesson embedded in them, punctuated by his love of scripture and characterized by a Socratic style of questioning his listeners.

Through stories recounted by Dr. Bush, it became known that he was the last patient seen by the late Dr. Charles R. Drew, who saved his life during a hospitalization for appendicitis; that he had the opportunity to meet the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and that Dr. George Washington Carver told Bush a few words that stayed with and influenced his life: “To have faith in God, to always be a student, and to be honest.”

Throughout Dr. Bush’s life, he passed these lessons on to all who would hear and impressed upon them that the measure of a man’s life is what he gives.

Dr. Bush was preceded in death by his wife, Mrs. Wynona Joan Bush (Aug. 16, 2013), and his son, Dr. David Bush (Sept. 3, 2015), his older brother Fritz Bush (Dec. 27, 2006), and his older sister, Ruthie Lee Hooks (July 15, 2004). He is survived by his son Dr. Ronald Bush, and his grandchildren:  Evan David Bush and Raquel Ana Bush, devoted sister, Mrs. Eunice Collins, and nephew, Ken Collins of Long Beach; daughter-in-law, Dr. Leslie Grant (wife to son David Bush),  and a host of nieces and nephews, great and great-great-nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at Christ Second Baptist Church, 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Long Beach, Calif. at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.  In memoriam, donations may be made to Tuskegee University. Contact Robert Blakely, vice president for Advancement & Development at rblakely@mytu.tuskegee.edu

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.

  • Kelvin D Filer August 30, 2016

    Dr. Bush was a wonderful man, exemplary dentist and a true humanitarian to the City of Compton !!! He was certainly one of the civil rights pioneers who worked hard to be a positive role model and to open the doors for others to follow ! “Well done a good and faithful servant !”

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