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WWII veteran lived to 100; his family couldn't give him a party or a funeral

By ANNETTE CARY | Tri-City Herald | Published: May 7, 2020

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KENNEWICK, Wash. (Tribune News Service) — A big family party was planned for Albert Bushore’s 100th birthday.

Instead of celebrating with many of his 85-plus descendants, he marked his birthday March 29 in his assisted living room home in Kennewick.

Only a son and daughter-in-law were allowed briefly into the dining room to share a cake with him and the staff.

Less than a month later he became the oldest person in the Tri-Cities to die of complications of COVID-19.

Bushore had been ill only a couple of days before he died April 23, ending a life marked by hard work to support a family of eight.

He met his wife, Lois, when they were high school classmates in San Diego. They were 18 when they married in 1938 as the Great Depression was nearing its end.

Times were hard, so they eloped to Arizona to save money, said his son Robin Bushore of Richland. The marriage would last for 77 years until Lois’ death.

The couple were close. “They would sit and hold hands,” his son remembered.

WWII veteran

Albert Bushore was a veteran of World War II, drafted despite working in the aviation industry and having four kids by then.

Among his assignments was a stint at Fort Sill, Okla., helping develop a “launch and recovery” system for propeller-driven aircraft to land and takeoff without a runway. It was never put into production.

Albert Bushore used to tell people that he spent one year, one month, one week and one day in the Army.

He was one of fewer than 10,000 WWII veterans still living in Washington state when he died.

He worked until he was about 70, most of that time in the aviation industry, with early jobs in riveting operations before quickly rising to inspection and supervisory positions.

He worked for most of the major aircraft companies.

“He could visualize things,” figuring out not just how to take things apart but how to put them together and improve them, his son said.

When there were no jobs available building planes, he kept working at whatever he could.

He sold real estate “when he had to to keep us fed,” his son said. With six kids, every dollar was important.

He also worked as a restaurant food inspector in between better-paying aviation jobs.

Victim of COVID-19

Albert Bushore and his wife moved to the Tri-Cities in 2002, both to be close to family who had already moved to the Mid-Columbia and to be free of Seattle congestion.

They liked playing cards with friends, and Albert had a reputation as a good storyteller.

He talked about the things he knew — family life and places he and Lois had visited as contract aviation jobs took him to locations across the nation during times between steadier work.

He spent his last few years in a retirement home, moving on to assisted living care.

As the new coronavirus started to spread in the country, residents of the home were confined to their rooms to help protect them and his family would stand outside his window to chat with him.

On April 21 when Robin Bushore looked in, Albert seemed slow to get up and he wasn’t talking.

The next day a staff member found him collapsed on the floor and he was taken to Trios Southridge Hospital, where he died a day later

His family plans an internment for Albert and Lois at the Tahoma National Cemetery for military members and their spouses in Kent sometime in the future.

He is survived by his children, Terry Bushore, Kathleen Rincon and Robin Bushore of the Tri-Cities and Stephen Bushore of Newcastle, Calif., Donald Bushore of Sumner, Wash., and Michael Bushore of Kirkland, and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

©2020 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)
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