Jimmy L. “Jim” Rush, 74, a resident of Cleveland, passed away Monday morning. Sept. 9, 2013, in a Sevierville hospital.
He was the son of the late J.L. “Shorty” and Nellie Ritchey Rush.
He was founder of Jim Rush Funeral Homes, having started in the funeral business at the age of 14, working at Daniels Funeral Home of Rome, Ga., alongside his dad.
He was a graduate of Rome City High School. From there he attended the Cincinnati College of Embalming, where he completed his mortuary science degree. He was licensed to practice funeral service and embalming in the states of Georgia and Tennessee. Shortly before his graduation from mortuary college, he married Judy Brock Rush, on May 17, 1959.
Jim and Judy returned to Rome working in their professions. He worked at several different funeral homes while in Georgia and also served as a sheriff’s deputy in Rome.
They moved their family to Cleveland in 1964 to work for Buckner Funeral Home. Following a move back to Georgia, they returned to Cleveland where he served as head of detectives of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement was a second passion of his, but his calling was funeral service.
In 1973, he was named manager of Buckner Funeral Homes. In 1977, he purchased the funeral home and changed the name to Buckner-Rush Funeral Homes.
In 2003, he brought his son, J. Greg Rush, and his son-in-law, Darrin Douglas, in as partners. To honor him, they changed the name to Jim Rush Funeral Homes.
During his funeral service career, he was asked to be the commencement speaker at graduation at Gupton Jones Mortuary Science College in Atlanta. He served on numerous Tennessee Funeral Directors Association Committees and its board and served as its president from 1993 to 1994.
One of his many acts while serving as president of the TFDA dealt with the devastation that was felt after the destructive flooding in Georgia which displaced so many caskets in various cemeteries. He prevailed upon the Legislature of Tennessee to pass a law requiring that every deceased body have a permanent identification on their person. He also served on the advisory board for United Family Life Insurance, Atlanta.
He was an avid hunter and golfer. He loved the mountains and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.
One of his favorite activities was spending time with his family, watching his grandkids play ball, traveling out West with Judy, and working at the funeral home.
Those that knew him enjoyed his sense of humor and delighted at seeing him riding around in his truck in town and even traveling to Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains.
The city of Cleveland honored his service to the people of Cleveland and Bradley County by designating Nov. 9, 2012, as Jim Rush Day. He was humbled by this expression of gratitude for his life’s service. In June 2013, at the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association Convention, he was inducted into its Wall of Fame.
He was a loving husband, father, “Papa” and servant. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Judy Brock Rush, of Cleveland; his sons: J. Greg Rush and his wife, Darla, and Marc Rush and his wife, Tina, all of Cleveland; his daughters: Kim Rush of Nashville and Kathi Rush Douglas and her husband, Darrin, of Cleveland; his grandchildren: Jennifer Nicole Rush of Cleveland, Bailey Elizabeth Rush of Nashville, Brock Rush and his wife, Kayla, of Fairhope, Ala., Olivia Howard of Cleveland, Matthew Rush of Sevierville, Caleb Douglas, Cameron Douglas, Collin Douglas, Carter Douglas, and Cole Douglas, all of Cleveland; his stepbrothers: Bruce and Steve Rood and their families of Rome; his stepsister, Angel Rood Camp and her family, of Ashland, Ky.; his brothers-in-law: the Rev. Ronald E. Brock of Jonestown, Pa., the Rev. Steve L. Brock and his wife, Pat, of Dacula, Ga.; his aunt, Martha Jo Baldwin of Rome; his cousin, Glenda Almand and her family of Rome; and several more cousins, nephews, nieces, and his employees and their families of Jim Rush Funeral Homes, whom he considered family.
A Remembrance of Life service will be held 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, at Westmore Church of God with Pastor Kelvin Page, Pastor Gary Sears and the Rev. Wendell Smith officiating.
Interment will follow in the Boanerges Baptist Church Cemetery with Brock Rush, Matthew Rush, Caleb Douglas, Cameron Douglas, Bob Batson, Richard Jeffers, Daniel Ownby and Pastor Cy Harris serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Jennifer Rush, Bailey Rush, Olivia Howard, Kayla Rush, Collin Douglas, Carter Douglas, Cole Douglas and his colleagues in funeral service across the state.
The visitation will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Westmore Church of God.
Because of his dedication to funeral service, the family requests that memorials be made in his honor to the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association Memorial Scholarship Fund to ensure that the same passion, respect and honor will continue in the serving of families during their time of need.
Memorials may be sent to the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association Memorial Scholarship Fund, 1616 Church St., Nashville TN 37203.
Jim Rush Funeral Homes is in charge of arrangements.
We encourage you to share your memories and/or condolences with the family by going to www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.