Wellsville, NY - James Alfred Brush, 79, of 91 Jefferson Street, Wellsville NY passed away Sunday February 19 at Strong Memorial Hospital. He was born January 1, 1938 in Hornell, New York, the son of H. Alfred and Catherine (Donovan) Brush. On June 9th, 1962 he married Julia Hart at Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, New York. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Richard, his brothers-in-law, Gerald and William Hart, sisters-in-law Jean Hart Hanks, Esther Hart Adams, and Mary Ellen Hart. He is survived by his wife Julia, son Kevin (Amy) Brush, daughter Mary Elizabeth Brush, brother Thomas (Agnes) Brush, brother-in-law Clinton Adams, two grandchildren Matthew and Jeffrey Brush, and many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins and lifelong friends.
Jim was raised in Canisteo, New York and moved to Scio, New York when he entered high school. Jim participated in soccer, baseball, and basketball for Hall of Fame coach Roger Rigby before graduating in 1956. In 1960, he graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a degree in Business Administration, and forevermore bleeding brown and white. He held season tickets to Bonaventure basketball for 50 years. After graduation, he briefly worked at Acme Electric before enlisting in the Army Reserves in 1960, reporting to Fort Dix and becoming active during that time. He remained a member of the Army Reserve until 1966 as a member of the 98th Training Division.
In 1963 his career moved in a new direction as he began work in the accounting department at Air Preheater in Wellsville, New York until his retirement in 2000, maintaining many lifelong friendships.
Jim loved athletics. He was an avid golfer and a longtime member of the Wellsville Country Club, serving as club president in 1982. He served many years at WCC as Mens’ Golf Association treasurer. Upon stepping down from that post, he was honored with a bench dedicated to his service to the club. He proudly claimed three holes-in-one to his credit.
Many in Allegany County will remember Jim as a referee and was a member of IAABO Board 50 from 1963 to 2000. He was the longtime secretary-treasurer and interpreter for the Board. In 1981 he officiated in the New York State Basketball Finals. In 2009 he was elected to the Allegany County Sports Hall of Fame. His coaching career began in 1963 when he was the volunteer basketball coach at Immaculate Conception School. Additionally, he taught phys. ed. classes at ICS on his lunch hour. This initial coaching tenure spanned 19 years. When he stepped down from coaching the boys’ team, he coached the girls’ team for one year and then continued to help by officiating, scheduling, and assigning officials. Then, after his retirement from Air Preheater he resumed coaching until 2012. Though he retired from coaching, he was a visible presence at ICS running the clock, organizing fundraisers to sustain the program, and offering individual help to anyone who asked.
Jim was a member of Immaculate Conception Church, where he served as an usher. He was a former member of the Lions Club and an active member of Elks Lodge 1495, American Legion Post 702, a charter member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Wellsville and volunteered for many years with the local Special Olympics. Jim also enjoyed many good times with the ‘ABB Lunch Club’ and ‘Secret Club’. He enjoyed socializing and could be found most mornings at the Mini Mart drinking coffee, chatting and reviewing sports scores, with particular attention given to his beloved Buffalo Bills and Bonaventure Bonnies.
After his retirement, he and Judy found immense joy in providing care to his two beloved grandsons, taking them on ‘adventures’ to parks, museums, historical sites, all the while teaching them family history along the way.
On Friday February 24th at 2:30 pm the Rosary will be recited and visitation hours will follow at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville from 3pm to 7pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, NY on Saturday February 25th at 11:00 am, immediately followed by burial at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Wellsville, NY. The family would like to invite Jim’s former basketball players to stand honor guard outside the church to welcome Jim home.
In lieu of flowers, family asks that donations be made to Immaculate Conception School or to the Hart Comfort House in Wellsville, NY. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.