Mary Elizabeth Rush

Mary Elizabeth Rush

Mary Elizabeth (Liz) Rush (Pryor, Webber)

Mary (Liz) was born on July 20, 1926, in Waynesboro, Georgia. She was raised and educated in Augusta, Georgia.  She attended Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in Augusta.  Haines was established as a school for black students when many of the schools in the south were segregated.  This education was the preparation for her later work experiences.  Mary studied hard, made many friends, and joined the school’s basketball team and school choir.  There she enrolled in The Lamar School of Nursing, an extension of Haines Normal.  In 1944, she went to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the United States Navy Nurse Corp. There she met a young Naval sailor, Athon Webber of Eads, TN. When he was sent overseas, she moved to Cleveland.  There they later married and raised their four children: Anthony, Denise, Nathaniel, and Joselynn.

After leaving home her mother gave birth to her only sibling, her sister, Michele.  Although she was raised as an only child by her uncle and aunt, she became extremely close to her sister and talked to her daily until her death.

In 1961, she was remarried to Roy E. Rush Sr. of Dekalb, Mississippi.    Four additional children, Craig, Karen, Kathey, and Roy Jr. were born.   As an only child, it was hard to believe that she would have such a large, blended family.   Their home became the “playground” for all the children in the neighborhood.  She tolerated the children’s many pets, welcomed and unwelcomed.  It was not uncommon to find, birds, ducks, chickens, gerbils, cats, and the poodles which she bred.  Mary loved to crochet and made over 100 afghans which she gave away to family and friends.   Mary and Roy both inspired local-youth, especially with their work with the B-Buzz Little League which still plays today through the continued support of the community.

Mary’s schooling in Augusta helped her in securing her work as a nurse’s aide.  She worked for fifteen years in several of the local hospitals.  If you spent more than thirty minutes with her, she probably tried to diagnose you and make suggestions for “her” remedies.

She will be most remembered for her outstanding personality, and the community and civic work in the greater Cleveland area and the Lee-Harvard community.  She most notably served in the mayoral campaign of Carl B. Stokes, who would become the first Black mayor of a major US city.  She tirelessly worked and supported the campaigns of her state and local elected officials, including Arnold Pinkney, Charles Butts, John Barnes Sr.  and Louis Stokes to name a few.   Her ability to connect and engage with people was welcomed.  Neighbors knew who to call when city services were needed in the community. Mary was known to talk a lot so it was hard to say no to her requests.

When someone you love becomes a memory, those memories become a treasure.  For all who knew Mary, those memories will last forever.  If you were touched by her kindness, her generosity, her tireless work ethic, and unconditional love, your life was forever changed.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Roy E. Rush Sr., mother, Mattie Lee Henson, sons Anthony (Webber), Nathaniel (Webber), grandson Damon (Webber), great-grandchildren, Sire and Stanton Doss, Jr.

Mary is survived by her sister, Michelle (Lee) Newland (Hendersonville, TN), cousin, Raleigh (Hal Mendel) Borum (Eaton, OH);  children, Denise (James) Green, Joselynn (Bruce) Burnett, Craig (Lacrecia Tyus) Rush, Kathey (Marvin) Germany, Karen (Sanford) Doss, Roy (Angela) Rush, her 18 grandchildren, Anthony Jr., Eric, Krisha, Joy, Bruce Jr., Nathaniel Jr., Jamie, Candice, Marvin Jr., Nichelle, Shaniece,  Aroya, Dale, Stanton, Saultan, Deja, Craig Michael, and Diamond;  25 great-grandchildren, and 9 great-great grandchildren. Mary is also survived by many close family members and friends.

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