A salute to Betsey Bush

Sandra ClarkArts 865

The Knoxville arts community lost a major benefactor in 2017. Betsey Richards Bush passed away July 2 at UT Medical Center at age 80.

Mrs. Bush was inducted posthumously into the Knoxville Opera Hall of Fame in October.


A member of the Opera board of directors, Mrs. Bush participated in a variety of committees from 2009-15. “In acknowledgement of her inspiring spirit and significant philanthropy to the arts in Knoxville, Betsey was elected as an honorary director in 2015 and will remain so in perpetuity,” said Brian Salesky, opera conductor and executive director.

The Opera’s 40th anniversary season commenced in grand style with a gala concert, sponsored by Dr. Sharon Lord. In addition to Bush, seven others were inducted into the Hall of Fame: The Aslan Foundation, Dr. Michelle Lanter Brewer, Pilot Flying J, Peggy J. Sood, Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout, Andrew Wentzel and Jackie Wilson.

Mrs. Bush, a Wisconsin native, taught school before her marriage in 1971 to Condon S. Bush, CEO of Bush Bros. He and Betsey moved to Knoxville in 1978. She was a lay leader at Second Presbyterian Church. Her friend Cynthia Moxley paid tribute to Betsey Bush here.

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