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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 02Mar00

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.


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