15 NOV 1925 - Lancaster, VA
30 DEC 2013 - Kilmarnock, Lancaster, VA

"Grandmama" Savilla Alease Bush

Show Family Line Savilla Bush >> Maida George

Alease spent her whole life taking care of disabled and sick family members.

Savilla Alease Bush was born on November 15th, 1925 in Lancaster County to John Elbert Bush and Maida Ruth Haynie. She went by her middle name. She was the third of five children. Alease grew up at the Bush family home-place in Alfonso and was raised in Lebanon Baptist Church. Her mother died when she was only three years old. Her grandmother, Eudora Virginia Alexander, lived with them and helped raise the children. The youngest, J.E. Jr., was cared by their Aunt Effus for some time.

The 1930 census shows John Elbert Bush, his mother and four daughters all living together. None of the children are listed as attending school. Eudora passed away the following year.

The 1940 census showed all John Elbert's children living with him on the farm. Alease's age is given as 14 and she is marked as finished 5th grade. Her sister Viola Virgina or "Jenny" was a year older and marked as finishing 4th grade. Jenny had some type of intellectual disability and she was always described as having "the mind of a child." Alease cared for Jenny over the years, and later in life she took Jenny in to live with her family.

In the early 1940's Alease began dating Marvin Lewis George. Marvin got drafted into the army in March of 1945. Before he left for basic training in Florida he asked Alease to marry him. She was still senior at Lively High School when they got engaged and graduated a couple months later while he was away. Marvin returned to Lancaster County on furlough on August 16th of 1945. They were married on the 25th at the Baptist parsonage of W.L. Waldrep. Marvin reported to Fort Meade in Maryland three days later for deployment to Japan.

By the time Marvin made it to Japan the fighting was over and the U.S. Army was helping to clean up and rebuild. Luckily he never had to see combat. While he was gone Alease worked at a store in Kilmarnock. She stayed with her Aunt Izola who must have lived close to town.

Marvin received a honorable discharge in December of 1946 and returned home. Margaret was born the following year. Marvin and Alease lived at the George Home-place with his parents and uncle Lloyd, a life-long bachelor. Marvin started a heating and air conditioning business. Alease helped him keep his books. They were members of Morattico Baptist Church. John Elbert Bush passed away in 1950, Alease served as the executrix of his will. In 1951 Marvin's mother, Orah, died.

Maida was born in 1957. In addition to looking after Gordon D., uncle Lloyd and Jenny, Marvin and Alease often kept his nieces Arlene and Darlene in the summers. After Lloyd died in 1961 Marvin had some trouble with his siblings about living in the family home and taking care of their father. Gordon D. bought a nearby farm that they called the Redd house and moved out. Gordon D. sold them the Redd House in exchange for caring for him for the last years of his life.

On March 17th 1978 Marvin suffered a heart attack at age 55. He survived but much of the rest of his life was spent in and out of hospitals with heart and later kidney issues. Alease was by his side taking care of him the whole time. Her sister Jenny died in 1981 after a particularly bad turn for Marvin, family lore said that the stress of his illness killed her.

Marvin passed away on March 24th, 1999 and Alease's health deteriorated quickly afterward. She had heart trouble of her own and had to have bypass surgery in 2001. After recovering from surgery she began showing signs of dementia. At first it was mild and she was able to stay at home with a caretaker that would spend days with her. Eventually she had to stop driving and began trying to walk back to the Bush home-place saying that she had to get home. When the wandering began she had to move to a nursing home. For a short time she lived at The Orchard in Warsaw but soon moved to The Lancashire in Kilmarnock where she lived out her life. Alease passed away on December 30th, 2013. She was buried at Morattico Baptist Church on January 2nd, 2014.

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Grandmama talked about all the hard work that she and her siblings did growing up on the farm, and when they were not working there her father made them walk to Lebanon Church with a lawnmower to keep the cemetery cut. He was a deacon in the church and had his children sitting on the front row every Sunday. One story that Grandmama did tell about playing as child was when they pretended to be chickens and she built her nest out of poison ivy and got a rash all over. Another story Grandmama told from her childhood was about someone bringing over a plate of soft crabs, but her family had already eaten a cherry earlier and according to an old-wives tale that her father believed eating crabs and cherries together would kill you. So to protect the family he locked the plate of crabs in a pie safe then they forgot about them until the next day when the crabs had spoiled and smelled up the house.

Grandmama talked about her "Cousin Carrie" often. I am not sure exactly how they were related but she may have been John Elbert's second cousin. She and her family lived in Baltimore and came to visit in Alfonso often. Grandmama also went to Maryland to see them and she remembered that Carrie had a pet alligator that lived under the stove and ate scrambled eggs. According to Grandmama there would have been many years that her family would not have had a Christmas if not for Cousin Carrie shipping them barrels of fruits and presents.

I remember Grandmama working a lot in the garden. She canned much of what they grew including green beans, peas and tomatoes. She also made dozens of jars of pickle every season and even grew grapes so that she could make her own jelly. She did a lot of cooking and baking. I remember that she made great fried chicken and a vegetable soup with many ingredients from the garden. At Easter Grandmama would make a special yellow layer cake with coconut frosting decorated with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and peeps. At Christmas she would make the best fruit cake I have ever had. She kept it in the refrigerator wrapped in layers of foil and cheese cloth and would unwrap it everyday to soak it in home made grape juice and by Christmas it was so moist and sweet. Often the cookie jar she kept in the kitchen had homemade chocolate cookies inside and she always kept a package of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes in the crisper of her refrigerator as a treat. She made oyster fritters for lots of holiday meals and shucked the oysters herself because she claimed the Grandaddy "cut up the meats." Grandaddy liked to eat fried squirrel and sometimes I would bring them a few. She could skin a squirrel faster than anyone I have seen.

Grandmama had a funny way of saying a lot of words that she may have gotten from her father. The main ones I remember was that she called a sink a "zinc," a shopping cart a "carton," a camera a "camry," film was "fil-ums," batteries were "bat-trees," and she called Sprite, "Sprike." She also used the expression "presently" a lot when talking about something she was about to do except she pronounced it as "praise-nee." When talking about Grandaddy's father she pronounced his name as "Garden D." instead of "Gordon D."

Grandmama saved old coins and she started collecting state quarters when they came out in 1999. She kept all of the family graves at Lebanon and Morattico in order and placed new flowers several times a year. She took lots of pictures at family gatherings and usually had her camera in her hand whenever she wasn't in the kitchen. She would even take pictures of the TV screen when the high school marching band was in a televised parade if she knew any of her grandchildren where there.

Grandmama spent a lot of time cleaning, she kept her house spotless and thought anything could be cleaned with bleach. She even tried to clean her fish bowl with bleach one time while the gold fish was still in it. One time Grandaddy wanted me to get rid of a groundhog that was digging under the barn and he got me his .270 rifle to use. The groundhog came out and stood up beside the barn so I took a shot, It made a terrible mess on the side of the barn and Grandmama gave me wash the side of the barn off with a bucket and rag. When I got a tattoo and showed it her she said she was going to wash it off, I tried to explain that it was a tattoo and it was permanent. Grandmama said that if she took a scrub brush to it she could wash it off, and I believed her.

“I ain’t gonna have no Christmas” was something Grandmama used to say every year later in her life, even though I think she really loved the holiday. She liked giving everyone in the family joke gifts. After the regular presents she would bring out a special bag to pass around. Once everyone had a package it was like a race to open them. It was usually a wrapped box, inside a wrapped box, inside another wrapped box and in the middle a small dollar-store type gun that shot rubber darts or ping-pong balls. She would laugh and take pictures while everyone scrambled to open the gifts.

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Sources:

  • Year: 1930; Census Place: Mantua, Lancaster, Virginia; Roll: 2448; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 560.0; FHL microfilm: 2342182
  • Year: 1940; Census Place: Mantua, Lancaster, Virginia; Roll: T627_4272; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 52-1
  • Virginia, Birth Records, 1864-1999
  • Virginia, Marriages, 1936-2014
  • U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current

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Parents:


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Siblings:

  • Ruth Aderleane Bush
    • 1923-2009
  • Viola Virginia Bush
    • 1924-1981
  • Elver Emma Bush
    • 1927-2015
  • John Elbert Bush, Jr.
    • 1928-1999

Last Updated: 9/29/2019