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Bush with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito marking the opening of the rail extension in Adams.

Adams Mourning Loss of Selectman James Bush

By Jeff Snoonian
iBerkshires Staff
07:16PM / Wednesday, September 09, 2020
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Selectman James Bush gets sworn in by Town Clerk Haley Meczywor in 2018.

ADAMS, Mass. — The town is mourning the loss of Selectman James Bush, who died Wednesday.

Bush was a longtime civic activist, volunteering his time as Santa Claus during the holidays, organizing boat parades on Cheshire Reservoir, and founding the town's Fallen Heroes Project. 

Bush, a retired analyst at Specialty Minerals, was overwhelmingly elected to the Board of Selectmen back in 2018 and was vice chairman at the time of his death.
 
"Jim was committed to the town of Adams, serving on numerous boards, committees, and serving as a liaison from the Board of Selectmen to a number of organizations. Jim had a big heart and would help anyone in need," said Chairwoman Christine Hoyt. "Members of the community would see Jim helping out throughout the community and including being seen at each Mobile Food Bank helping to distribute food twice a month. Many of us often joked that Jim was the mayor of Adams, since he knew everyone in town and was always willing to answer the call, even at 10:30 p.m. at night about a dead skunk in the neighborhood or icy roads."
 
Bush had thrown himself into community work after his retirement, working — mostly quietly — with groups ranging from seniors to local youth. This past January, he was honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalitions' annual Day of Service. 
 
"It has been my personal mission to put my efforts into bettering the community and I am honored to receive this award," Bush said at the time. "I look forward to serving our community to the best of my ability with others who put their hearts and souls into helping others throughout our community."
 
Mike Cutler, a friend of Bush's, described him at the time as one of the "doers": "He is all over the place and involved with everything. He has done wonderful things for the town of Adams ... people like to follow positive people and Jim is one."
 
"Today, as I heard the news about Jim's passing, I looked out on to Park Street and saw one of the last few projects that Jim had worked on — the Fallen Heroes veterans banners along Park Street. Jim reported out to the Board of Selectmen about the progress of this project for nearly a year before the banners were installed," Hoyt said on Wednesday. "Jim wouldn't want me to single him out as he constantly reminded me that this was driven by a committee, however, I know that Jim's determination and persistence brought that project to fruition.  
 
"I was always impressed with his ability to juggle his town responsibilities and have time to check in to see how I was doing. Earlier this summer, Jim even shared with me a few family recipes for golumpki and his famous salsa. He trusted me with those recipes and even checked on me to see how the meals came out. I will miss my colleague and friend sitting at the Board of Selectmen's table each Wednesday night as he brought with him a great sense of humor and optimism along with his strong connection to the community and the ability to treat us all as members of his family."  
 
His most recent effort was the Fallen Heroes Project — hanging flags memorializing the town's military members dating back to the Civil War who had lost their lives in the nation's service. He and George Haddad had completed it in July in coordination with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. 
 
"Jim was the quintessential selectman, proudly serving in the finest tradition of New England town government," said Town Administrator Jay Green. "His myriad of committee assignments and community participation illustrates the deep dedication he had for his town. He believed in Adams and was eternally positive about its future. He understood the burden of public service and was not afraid to tackle difficult topics. ...
 
"He always spoke his mind and was always engaged. He strove to understand an issue and its impact to the community. His presence, sense of duty and sense of humor will be missed by all of us in Town government. I will miss Jim’s optimism about our community and his memory will inspire me to continue to work at keeping Adams moving forward."
 
Bush was also a town meeting member for Precinct 1 since 1991; served on the Selectmen's subcommittees for Youth Programs, Department of Public Works, Economic Development, and Green Energy; was an alternate commissioner for Adams on the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District; and was liaison to a host of groups including the Adams Arts Advisory Board, Berkshire Scenic Railway, Council on Aging and the Prudential Committee.

Bush as Santa last year at the Berkshire Food Project in North Adams. 

"We won't always agree but if you ask me a question and I don't have an answer I will get it for you," Bush said during an interview when he was running for the Board of Selectmen in 2018. "You may not like it, but I hope we can agree to disagree … I don't sugar coat anything."

He maybe was best known for playing Santa, most recently on the Berkshire Scenic Railway during its Christmas runs. Green said that devotion to becoming Santa for community organizations was an example of his goodness.

"He took that role seriously and took great satisfaction in bringing joy to others" Green said.

Bush and his wife, Pat, have been married for more than 40 years and have two children and several grandchildren. He also was a longtime member of Turn Hall and the Northern Berkshire Retirees Club, and joined the Berkshire Scenic Railway as a volunteer attendant when it opened in Adams. 
 
His Facebook page was filling up Wednesday night with remembrances from friends and acquaintances who remembered him as a man who very much loved his hometown and brought joy to many. 
 
The town of Adams will lower the flags on all of the town's buildings beginning Thursday, Sept. 10, continuing through the funeral services on Monday, Sept. 14. Calling hours will be Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Paciorek Funeral Home. 
 
 

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