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 Viet Nam 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!” where ever 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 US 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 life-long example of how to love one another.
In November 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 January 19th at 10 am 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.