Dr. Abner "Bush" Bushnell Preacher, Jr. passed away on April 12, 2023, at 80 in Yakima, Washington. He was born on July 15, 1942, in Piggott, Arkansas, to Abner Bushnell Preacher and Zada Turner Preacher.
After graduating high school in 1960 in Allendale, South Carolina, Bush attended the University of South Carolina, and in 1963 he gained early admission to the Medical College of Charleston. In 1965 he married high school sweetheart Linda Kaye McAfee, who supported their pursuit of a career in medicine by teaching elementary school. He completed his cardiology residency and fellowship at the University of Iowa.
Bush served as a U.S. Navy reservist during medical school and an active-duty Navy physician attached to the Second Marine Division based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., from 1968 to 1970. He served at Guantanamo Bay during a portion of his service years.
In 1975, Bush joined a medical community of distinguished doctors, nurses, and administrators in Yakima, Washington. Dr. Richard Twiss convinced Bush to join him and Dr. Donald Ballew as a partner in the Yakima Heart Center. Colleagues Dr. Duane Monick, Dr. Richard Spiegel, and Dr. Roger Vielbig joined soon after that.
After more than 20 years of marriage, Bush lost his beloved wife, Linda, to a difficult battle with cancer. She was a strong, active person, and they had been a team through school, military service, the birth of two energetic boys, a cross-country move, and so much more. Fortunately, two years later, he was blessed to meet Rosemary Harris. They married in 1989 and enjoyed 34 years of love and partnership. Bush and Rosemary bonded over their southern upbringings and shared ideologies. Both of them enjoyed spending time together, traveling, reading, and participating in the lives of their five children and eight grandchildren.
Throughout his life, Bush helped many people as a physician, friend, and community member. He was a healer, plain-talker, and advocate for equity and the fair treatment of all people. Growing up in the segregated South, he felt obligated to encourage these things.
Bush was also an avid hiker who joined and eventually coordinated a group on a hike nearly every Monday, relying on the expertise and knowledge of Tom Perry, Jim Fitch, Doug Corpron, Herb Schmidt, and others. He emailed a weekly recap of each hike that was eagerly anticipated by many in the community. Bush continued to organize these excursions until his passing.
His parents, stepmother Marion Preacher, wife Linda McAfee Preacher, and sister Zada Browne preceded him in death.
Bush is survived by his wife, Rosemary Preacher, sisters Connie Preacher Martin and Benie (Lewis) Brunson, sons Mike (Kristin) and John (Anne Pernick) Preacher and Andy (Shea) Harris, daughters Julie Ericson and Amy Ryan, and grandchildren Sam and Ben Harris, Evelyn and Kyle Ericson, Henry, Nolan and Natalie Preacher, and Emily Ryan.
Bush Preacher's passing has left a void in the hearts of all those who knew him. He was a kind and generous person who lived his life to the fullest. His family, friends, colleagues, and patients will miss him dearly.
A memorial service to celebrate Bush's life will be held in Yakima at a later date, to be announced. Instead of flowers, please consider donating to the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy to support Bush's love of trails or the charity of your choice.