Bert E. Bush, 70, of Melrose, died Sunday, April 17, 2022 at Franciscan Skemp Mayo, La Crosse surrounded by his loving wife and family. Bertie was born on May 20, 1951 to Albert C. “Bert” and Clara Bush. He attended the Spring Creek School until it closed and graduated from Black River Falls Senior High in 1969.
On February 26, 1972, he married Lucille Zidich, whose family had moved to Black River Falls from Hibbing, MN when the Jackson County Iron Mine opened up. During their 50 years of marriage they were always together. They reared their four children and farmed various farms and farmland in Jackson County. In later years, Bertie enjoyed buying and selling toy implements. He especially loved his collection of Oliver tractors. He looked forward to fishing trips in northern Minnesota, did some hunting, and traveled a bit, too.
Bertie loved farming. According to his sisters, he didn’t always love the barn work. As a youngster he sometimes would leave his muscles “in a drawer.” As a teenager, he might have to go to the bathroom at the start of milking and return when it was almost done. Given the choice between milking and fieldwork, you would find him on a tractor in the field. Despite any early doubts, he and Lucie bought the farm he grew up on, and throughout his life he had dairy cattle, at one time 1000 pigs, beef, calves, and grew crops on many acres of land. Despite his many health challenges: back surgery, losing a foot to a combine auger, cardiac bypasses, a successful fight against cancer, headaches, and just plain getting older, he never quit farming. It might seem like it was going to happen, but nope, it didn’t. He was out working two days before he died. He did it because he couldn’t not do it. He loved it.
His family meant everything to him. He and Lucie were always together, and there was usually at least one of their kids and/or grandkids with them. He found great joy in little kids and loved to have them around, even when he wasn’t feeling well. Their laughs, conversations, and snuggles made him very happy. He enjoyed family gatherings and holidays. Sometimes he would deny it, but he even loved having six sisters. He will truly be missed.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Lucie. His four children: Gerry (Samantha Swenson), Jason (Teresa Myher), Greg (Jenny) Bush, Tracy of Eau Claire; 17 grandchildren: Gabe, Claire, and Tyler Bush, JayCee, Dylan, Nora, Dawson, Alexys, Austin, and Tyzin Bush, Samantha Dodge, Logan Farner, Morgan Gonyo, Alex Dickey, Kayla Hansen, Kylee (Tyler) Ewert, Devin L’Herault; two great-grandchildren: Aubrey Gilbert, Liam Welker; sisters: Virginia Young, Joyce (Cary) Arndt, Lorene Breit, Jill (John) Higgins, Christie (Rich) Wirz, Jayne (Kevin) Foster; half-brother, Robert (Judy) Mauer; in-laws: Charles (Roberta) Zidich, Richard (Danette) Zidich, Donna (Jim) Ranney and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert C. “Bert” and Clara (Olson) Bush; parents-in-law, Charles and Helen Zidich; in-laws Harry Breit and Larry Young; Don Lemerand.
Per his wishes, there will be no services. Memorials may be directed to the Spring Creek School Restoration Project, Jackson County Historical Society, Box 37, Black River Falls, WI 54615.
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at www.schanhoferfh.com
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