John Bushman – A Servant to All

Bushman, John portrait, Logan UT

This a story taken from Jacob Virgil’s journal dated January 1922. It states,

“One of these cold nights at about 2:00 a.m. there came a knock on our door. I got up and let a young man in who said his father, Joe Barnes, had died. He wanted to know if Uncle John Bushman (my father) would come wash and lay him out. I said, ‘why father is 80 years old. Can’t you get some younger person to do that for you?’ but he said, ‘I have asked two or three others to do it, but they all have some excuse or other. I knew Uncle John wouldn’t turn us down. So I said, ‘I don’t know. I will go to his room and talk to him.’ I told Father what they wanted and told him it was out of reason for them to ask an old man like him to get up at 2:00 a.m. and walk five or six blocks in bitter cold weather 16 below zero to do this job when there was a town full of younger people who could just as well do it. But Father never hesitated a minute. He was dressing while I was talking.

Then he said to me wouldn’t you like to go with me and I will show you how to wash dress and lay out a dead person. Well of course I wouldn’t be out done by my aged Father. So, readily accepted his request. I told the young man we were coming over and he went home. As we walked over that night in the snow & bitter cold Father told me he was thankful that he had never refused in his life any call that was made of him either night or day to help his fellow man. Well, our hearts were warm and burned within us so we didn’t notice the cold. We soon did the job and by 4 a.m. Father’s old friend was all fixed up & laid out and that night I learned two valuable lessons that I have never forgotten. One, to be able to lay out the dead but the greatest lesson to never refuse if possible a request to help my fellow man. Then as I looked back on Father’s life as I knew it and I remembered he gave his whole life in public service to the living and was now for the past 7 years giving his services to the dead in the Salt Lake Temple.”
– Jacob Virgil Bushman Journal, Jan. 1922, pgs 65-67.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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