In Memoriam of John R. Bush

A 75 year old Tampa lawyer died on August 30, 2008. He was a very special man. He had suffered from kidney disease and had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Rather than subject himself and his family to further dialysis, tests, biopsies, operations, procedures and medications, none of which would reasonably have improved the quality of his remaining life, he opted for none of the above, but instead a home setting for his final days and the care gracefully and lovingly provided by his daughter. He directed that his cell phone, a contraption as to the benefits of which he was highly conflicted, be relegated to the trash and that friends who otherwise would have presented themselves for the “final visit” be barred from such ordeal so that neither they nor he would have to suffer from the likelihood of emotional blather or excess. He decreed that any public notification of his death be limited to that which might be required by law. He was a very private man and would be appalled at the thought of an article such as this being published. Happily, he is presently without control over such matter.

He arrived in Tampa in 1962 with a wife, a Syracuse University law degree, a Marine Corps Officer pedigree and a job with the Internal Revenue Service. He entered private practice in 1964 with Macfarlane Ferguson Allison & Kelly, and in 1981 founded with others the firm which ever since has borne his name. Few outside of the legal community would have known of his presence. No media device was ever used to publicly pronounce his expertise or abilities, he joined no organization for the purpose of aggrandizing his presumed talents and disdained those lawyers who attempted to publicly market themselves or advance a “brand.” He simply tried to perform a professional service for those who sought his assistance and over the years, as a consequence of doing so with great skill and effort, he achieved an enviable reputation as a trial attorney.

He had a wonderful sense of humor but told jokes that left others wondering what they had missed, was a man who did not “suffer fools lightly,” was fascinated by world events, viewed most politicians as preening roosters and was enormously opinionated. Consequently, it was great fun to utter an outrageous thought on virtually any larger subject and then silently observe the resulting and inevitable lecture or fulmination. He missed being a part of the “Greatest Generation” by a few years, but would have been a strong member of that dying breed of able, silent, private men who proceed through life quietly and competently without seeking public recognition or private fortune and accept and deal with circumstances as they find them. Would that there were more like him. His name was John R. Bush and those of us who were privileged to have known him well mourn his passing.