LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Lewis County is mourning the loss of a former legislature chairman, Jack Bush, who died on Saturday at 74-years-old.
To Bill Burke, Bush was more than just a colleague. They were longtime classmates at Lowville Academy.
“A lifetime friendship. Jack and I went to school together all through school, we graduated the same year,” Burke said.
Years later, Jack would become the Lewis County Legislature Chairman, serving for seven years from 2006 to 2013.
“When we all got elected, I’m not sure if we even caucused. It was automatic that Jack was going to be our leader, our new chairman,” said former Lewis County lawmaker and chairman Mike Tabolt.
Tabolt said Bush was a person he looked to emulate when it was his turn to lead the board.
“Jack probably never knew it, but I watched him closely,” Tabolt said. “He was a role model, just the way he conducted the meetings and made sure everyone had time to voice their opinions. I always thought that I would try to attain some of his qualities.”
Bush accomplished a lot in his years as board chairman, including working on the expansion of the Lewis County Courthouse, which sits in the center of the village of Lowville.
He was also a past exalted ruler for the Lowville Elk’s lodge and a former assistant chief with the village fire department.
One of his fellow firefighters, and a current board member, credits Bush with saving his life.
“When the heimlich maneuver came out, we were at a drill night at the Lowville Fire Department, and they instructed all of us on how to use it. That Saturday, Jack and I were at a party and I got a piece of beef stuck in my throat, and he used that and to this day I say he saved my life,” said Richard Chartrand.
Looking back at his legacy, Bush’s colleagues say he was everything you could ever want in a public servant.
“He had an honest, straightforward approach and showed respect to everyone he dealt with,” Tabolt said.
A full obituary on Bush’s life will be made available in the next few days. Funeral arrangements are with Sundquist Funeral Home in Lowville.