2018-05-11 / Society

Valerie Ann Bush

Valarie Ann Bush, whose feisty personality, strict moral code, and love of flip-flops were her trademarks in life, died of a heart attack Monday, April 30. She was 63. Valarie was born March 5, 1955, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She worked as a bookkeeper for many years and relocated to Columbia after the death of her husband.

She met her fiancé, Nelson Gibson, while residing at Transitions Homeless Center two years ago. The couple was due to move into an apartment within the next month and had planned to marry in June.

“Whenever you saw one, you saw the other,” said Transitions Emergency Services manager Alicia Wilkes. “She and Nelson were very sweet together.”

Charles Crumpler, who knew Valarie during her stays at Transitions, called her “a very resilient and optimistic person,” who helped around the center whenever she could.“Valarie was a feisty whirlwind of activity,” said Nelson. “Everything to her was black and white; there were no gray areas.”

Nelson said he admired Valarie for her strict moral code and her candid assessment of others, even when it sometimes created conflict among her friends and acquaintances.

“She was capable of reading the riot act to people without ever using any profanity,” Nelson said. “I want people to remember her as someone who would always tell you the truth.”

Valarie’s interests included gardening, cooking, coloring, playing games on her phone, and especially, wearing sandals whenever possible.

“She had a saying, ‘Life is better with flip flops,’” Nelson recalled.

Valarie was predeceased in death by her husband, Jim Bush, and survived by her beloved fiancé, Nelson Gibson; her daughter, Nicole Cook; as well as four grandchildren: Connor, Kayla, Caleb, and Kaylee.

A memorial service was held May 8, 2018. The Rev. Ken Nelson presided over the ceremonies.

In lieu of flowers, all are encouraged to register as an organ or tissue donor, a cause that was near and dear to Valarie’s heart.

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