Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Newspaper Editor Wanda Bush Dies
Birmingham AL News 27Feb00 P2
By Michael Sznajderman: News staff writer
MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA -- Wanda Bush, mother of two children,
grandmother of 10, news editor for the Alabama Journal and member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died on Valentine's
Day ending a long romance with life. Wanda was born in 1926 in
Robertsdale, a sizeable immigrant community near the ports of Mobile
and New Orleans. Wanda love the Gulf Coast and recalled a dream
while recently lying in the hospital. "I caught a hell of a lot of
fish," she told daughter Kathryn Bush Kimball.
Wanda worked in the fields as a youngster while her family struggled with
the Depression. She vividly remembered the day her family home burned down,
leaving nothing but a freshly bought box of pepper. At sixteen she headed to
wartime Mobile, where she worked as a waitress, then migrated on to
Montgomery to work at the old Elite Cafe. It was here she met a waiter,
N.E. Bush. They married and had two children.
For 10 years the couple moved around the country managing drive-in and
movie theatres. In 1958 television began to cut into family business and
Wanda and her husband moved back to Montgomery. It was here that Wanda
started her dream career, journalism. Wanda loved newspapers. She saw them
as a window on the world brimming with history and culture. She loved
newspaper people whom she saw as funny, smart and tough as they exposed
corruption and helped to deflate the egos of self-serving politicians. She
knew that she wanted to be one.
It took Wanda 30 years to work her way up from article clipper to copy
editor and then news editor from the Montgomery Advertiser to the Alabama
Journal. The year she retired, the paper produced a report on infant
mortality that won the Pulitzer Prize.
Life was a challenge for Wanda, as she ultimately raised two children as a
single mom. "It was a parting of ways," her daughter said explaining the
divorce of her parents. Wanda pressed on with her life and greeted the
challenge head-on. Her children thrived on her passion for learning. Wanda
never graduated from high school, but Kathryn and Michael went on to secure
doctorate degrees. The children also embraced their mother's Mormon faith,
and gave her 10 grandchildren.
In later years, Wanda loved to travel, collect everything from old spoons
to china, books, and porcelain shoes. Her trademark was colorful scarves
and shiny, dangling earrings. It was a trademark look that matched her
unabashed opinions. Last Christmas she took one last trip to New York City.
Despite her emphysema, she visited the Guggenheim Museum and joyfully walked
the length of the galleries.