Richard Pred­more Rush

April 2, 1945 - Jan­uary 3, 2019

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - WORLD -

Richard Pred­more Rush left this world a bet­ter place than he found it – after 73 faith-filled years of love, lead­er­ship, pa­tri­o­tism, courage and kind­ness. Dick was born in Chicago, IL to Fred­er­ick Wil­liam and Vir­ginia Pred­more Rush on April 2, 1945. He grad­u­ated from Pro­viso East High School with three loves: let­ters in foot­ball and wrestling; a “cool guy” rep­u­ta­tion as drum­mer for the Road Run­ners rock and roll band; and his high school sweet­heart, Jen­nifer Moset­ick. They were mar­ried in 1965 for 29 years and shared three beau­ti­ful chil­dren – Jen­nette, Dawn and Adam. Dick grad­u­ated with a jour­nal­ism de­gree from South­ern Illi­nois Univer­sity in 1968. Dur­ing his 19 months in the Army, he served in Viet­nam for 13 months as Fire Di­rec­tion Con­trol for the Ar­tillery on Hawk Hill out­side of Da Nang. (His FDC train­ing was in Fort Sill, OK in 1968). He was awarded a Bronze Star and achieved a Spe­cial­ist 4th Class sta­tus. A pas­sion­ate pa­triot, he loved Amer­ica and all veter­ans. He en­thu­si­as­ti­cally greeted his “band of brothers and sis­ters” with a bold “Wel­come Home!” wher­ever he went. A 1972 mar­ket­ing job at the San Fran­cisco Cham­ber of Com­merce launched Dick into an ex­tra­or­di­nary cham­ber of com­merce ca­reer per­fectly paired with his pas­sion for free en­ter­prise, pros­per­ing com­mu­ni­ties and grow­ing new jobs to sup­port them. The Cal­i­for­nia Cham­ber hired him in 1977 to men­tor and help lo­cal cham­bers suc­ceed statewide. His ground­break­ing Paul Re­vere pro­gram gar­nered na­tional awards for help­ing busi­ness peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate with gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion­mak­ers in ef­fec­tive new ways. Dick then di­rected the U.S. Cham­ber’s Dal­las Re­gional Of­fice and leg­isla­tive ad­vo­cacy pro­gram in six states. It was as the Cham­ber’s ad­vi­sor/men­tor to Zim­babwe Na­tional Cham­ber that he fell fast in love with the prom­ise of in­ter­na­tional busi­ness and small busi­ness peo­ple world­wide. As Pres­i­dent & CEO of the State Cham­ber of Ok­la­homa for 24 years, Dick worked tire­lessly to make Ok­la­homa a bet­ter place to live, work, and do busi­ness - the best job of his life! Bi­par­ti­san, ef­fec­tive and full of in­tegrity, his mantra was: How can we help? Dick’s ex­pan­sive vi­sion to go be­yond Ok­la­homa’s bor­ders to places like China and South Amer­ica brought new op­por­tu­ni­ties to state com­pa­nies. He was at the helm when Right-to-Work passed in 2001 and when Ok­la­homa’s Cham­ber be­came Amer­ica’s first state cham­ber in Amer­ica to earn ac­cred­i­ta­tion for im­pact and ef­fec­tive­ness. In 1996, Dick mar­ried Kris McKnight, a ca­reer cham­ber pro­fes­sional her­self. She was the love of his life. Dick loved his chil­dren dearly: Jen­nette Ol­son and her hus­band Scott, of Southlake TX; Dawn Rush, of Stone Moun­tain, GA; Adam Rush and his wife Ju­lia, of Long­mont, CO; and 10 grand­chil­dren - Grant, Reid, Blake, Jes­sica, Sage, Ben­jamin, Per­sim­mon Grace, El­iz­abeth, Joy, and Ja­cob. His one wish was to teach each child to fish – and he did. Dick was a mem­ber of the Baha’i Faith and was pas­sion­ate about shar­ing its mes­sage of unity and love. He loved fish­ing, hum­ming­birds and all an­i­mals, es­pe­cially his beloved lap kit­ties, Punkin and Coco. He leaves be­hind count­less fam­ily mem­bers, friends and as­so­ciates who will miss his quick and goofy sense of hu­mor, laugh­ter and life­long ex­am­ple of how to love one an­other. In Nov. 2016, Dick was blessed with a sin­gle lung trans­plant from the Nazih Zuhdi Trans­plant Cen­ter. His lov­ing spirit and play­ful sense of hu­mor made him count­less new friends through­out breath­ing chal­lenges and brain can­cer. Dick and his fam­ily are eter­nally grate­ful to his won­der­ful team of physi­cians, nurses and staff at In­te­gris Bap­tist Hos­pi­tal, the Trans­plant Cen­ter, Mercy West­brook Clinic, his Mercy Pul­monary and PT Cen­tral ther­a­pists, Com­pan­ion at Home care­givers, plus many, many lov­ing friends, who kept his spir­its high. Please re­mem­ber Dick’s fi­nal Words: Love One An­other. A Cel­e­bra­tion of Life will take place Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. at Life Church, 9001 Broad­way in Ok­la­homa City. In lieu of flow­ers, please con­sider a con­tri­bu­tion to Hon­or­ing Amer­i­cas War­riors or Life Share Ok­la­homa in mem­ory of Richard "Dick" Rush.

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