Cover photo for Elda Bush's Obituary
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1922 Elda 2019

Elda Bush

January 23, 1922 — October 18, 2019

Elda Clara Alice Bush, 97, of Johnson Creek, WI passed away Friday, October 18 at Lake Mills Health Services in Lake Mills, WI. She was born on January 23, 1922 at her family's home in the Town of Watertown. On June 6, 1943 she married the love of her life, Carl Bush. They were married for 63 happy years before his passing in 2006. Elda lived a long and full life. She was a talented artist had a lifelong passion for music, painting, photography and entrepreneurial pursuits. In her twenties, Elda sang and played guitar at road houses, social gatherings, and the Riverside Park band shell in Watertown. She received many commissions for paintings, murals, and drawings from prominent clients such as Chester Gould (creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip), and what would become the La Choy food company. Elda and Carl traveled extensively for many years as part of the carnival business, operating attractions and selling Elda's art across the United States. They enjoyed exploring the American West in their camper, where they would mine for precious stones that Carl would turn into jewelry, and Elda would be inspired in her painting. In 1972, Elda and Carl started a business called Bush's Buckskin, creating and selling fine craft leather goods sold across the country during their travels. She was perhaps best known for her hand-painted neckties and was featured many times in local newspapers and television for her work. Later in life she taught art and painting in her home and at the vocational school (now MATC) in Watertown. In their 50s, Carl and Elda decided they were just getting started. In 1979, they bought 55 acres of land in the Town of Milford where they established Bush Gardens, an organic fruit and vegetable farm. They grew strawberries, raspberries, grapes, peaches, and other pick-your-own crops. She cherished her neighbors, and often spoke of how good they were to her. Elda ran the farm from atop her tractor iwell into her late 80's. Elda was full of energy, laughter, and a thirst for knowledge. Even as she aged, she embraced new technology as a window to the world and learned to use Skype and email to keep in touch with her granddaughters when they moved away to college. She was not often seen without her digital camera in hand (if not working in the field or garden), and always had a smile on her face. Elda is survived by one son, Larry Bush (Beverly Larkee) of Watertown; and two grandchildren, Virginia Bush (Trip Hook), of Alexandria, VA; and Greta Bush (Keith Silcox) of Asheville, NC. She was preceded in death by her husband Carl Bush in 2006, and parents Mamie and William Rieck. The family has honored her wishes for cremation and will hold a private memorial service this weekend. Donations can be made to Rainbow Hospice Care and the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Schmutzler-Vick Home and Cremation Services is serving the family. Online memories and condolences and may be made at ww.watertownwifuneralhome.com.
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