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Blue Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which covered southeastern Washington and all of eastern Oregon. He received the Scouts’ Silver Beaver Award for that service, an honor of which he was particularly proud.

His daughter-in-law remembers that:

When Spence was not working, he would take his young family fishing and sailing, and as the boys grew older he often took them bird hunting. He enjoyed being outdoors, and weather permitting, could often be found in the garden tending to the many fruit trees, raspberry bushes, vegetables, and perennials in the yard.

Spence enjoyed fine foods and wines, and his wealth of knowledge on the subjects was impressive. On one particular occasion he unknowingly educated a bystander at a cheese counter as he and his wife Bert discussed the merits of a particular cheese and where in Europe they had first encountered it. He was content in the kitchen working alongside Bert, trying out new recipes to go with that perfect bottle of wine. Over the years, when he visited family, he would show up with a grocery list of items to be obtained at gourmet food and wine shops, and always had a list of restaurants in the area he wanted to try.

“Spence was more than a genius,” said friend and collaborator Larry Chockie. “There are a lot of geniuses. But when an individual exceeds the definition of genius, that person is called a phenomenon, and a phenomenon comes along only once in a lifetime. That was Spence—he was a phenomenon.”


The author thanks Alan B. Carr, historian, Los Alamos National Laboratory, for his assistance in researching Spencer Bush’s experience during the Manhattan Project and ASME International for permission to quote from the proceedings of “Recent Advances in NDE and ASME B&PV Section XI—A Memorial Symposium in Honor of Dr. Spencer H. Bush, July 22-26, 2007.”

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