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Retired Hickory Springs executive Bob Bush Sr. dies at 78

Memorial services planned this week

David Perry, Julie Rauer -- Furniture Today, January 4, 2010

HICKORY, N.C. — Bob Bush Sr., a longtime executive at industry supplier Hickory Springs Mfg., died here Saturday. He was 78.
 Bob Bush Sr.Bob Bush Sr.

Bush, who retired from Hickory Springs as executive vice president of sales, devoted his entire career to the major supplier to the home furnishings industry. Company officials described him as one of the chief architects of the company's success, saying, "He lived and breathed Hickory Springs."

Bush was widely recognized for his leadership at Hickory Springs and his contributions to the home furnishings industry. He was awarded the Exceptional Service Award and the Robert MacMorran Award by the International Sleep Products Assn., served as the second president of the American Furniture Manufacturers Assn.'s Suppliers Council, and was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 2006.

Born in Rahway, N.J., Bush was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University. He began working for Hickory Springs as a youth and joined the company full-time after graduating from college.

"Bob was a man of strong convictions and supported those convictions in all that he did," the company said. "You knew where he stood and what he stood for. He was always thinking of ways to do things better, how to be more creative, and how to make the company stronger. That never lessened in (his) 50-plus years with the company."

Said Don Coleman, a longtime friend who is president of Hickory Springs and worked with Bush for years: "His compassion for all of those he met was evident. He was more than just a sincere guy, he was always your greatest supporter. Work with him or for him and you knew immediately. He took great pride in the employees who worked for the betterment of the company. Hickory Springs has lost a true pioneer in our business and in the industries we serve."

Bush is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jane Blackwood Bush; two sons, Bobby Bush Jr. and Jimmy Bush, both of whom work for Hickory Springs; a sister, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5 at the Park Inn, 909 U.S. 70 in Hickory, conducted by the Rev. Ron Overcash. The family will receive friends this evening (Monday, Jan. 4) from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bass-Smith Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Riverside Military Academy, 2001 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, Ga.; the Hickory Choral Society, 243 Third Ave., NE, Hickory; or the Catawba Science Center, 243 Third Ave., NE, Hickory.

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