After a long and productive life of professional and community service, David Elwood Gushee died of natural causes at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 28, 2020. He was cared for by his children David, Alice, and Kate, during the time of his death.
Born January 18, 1930, in Milton, Massachusetts, Dave Gushee was the son of New Englanders Almond Elwood and Alice Genevieve Gushee. The third of four children and the only boy, Dave was a precocious student and a fine high school and college baseball player. He began college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the age of sixteen and graduated with his degree in chemical engineering at twenty, in 1950.
From 1950-1956, Dave worked for DuPont Corporation as a chemical engineer in process and product development and in technical assistance to manufacturing and sales. A member of the Army Reserves since college, he was called into service in Korea as a forward observer (1951-52), first on assignment with the Sixth Korean Division and later as an aerial observer with IX Corps Artillery. He saw considerable combat, including flying 120 missions in an active war zone. Dave was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He left the Army as a 1st Lieutenant. The war was a formative experience for Dave, though he spoke little of it afterwards unless asked.
Dave moved to the staff of the American Chemical Society in 1956 as a technical editor for Chemical and Engineering News. This turned into an exciting opportunity to see the world, as he enjoyed tours as field editor in San Francisco (1957-59), London (1960-61), and Frankfurt, West Germany (1961-62).
During his time working for ACS, Dave met a fetching young Pennsylvania girl named Janice (Jay) Shields. They had a very brief courtship and were married in London on April 22, 1961. Their first child, David Paul Gushee, was born in Frankfurt in 1962. After their return to Vienna, Virginia, Alice (1964), Janette (1965), and Kathryn (1970) followed. Dave and Jay enjoyed a very happy marriage, which was a blessing not only to themselves but to their children and all who came to know them well.
Professionally, in 1972 Dave left the staff of the ACS and joined the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. During his 21 years with CRS, he became a lead analyst on energy, natural resources, and environmental policy issues. His carefully researched, nonpartisan analyses for the Congress helped shape the first generation of US government environmental laws. At various times with CRS he also served in a managerial role. Throughout his career, Dave was a proud and active member of the American Chemical Society (a 70-year member), American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and MIT Alumni Association.
On the volunteer side, Dave had a lifelong passion for baseball. Besides playing the game, he coached his son David from 1971 in Little League and in Babe Ruth Baseball through his junior high and high school years, and then continued as a coach till the mid-1980s. Afterwards, Dave became a local, state, and regional Babe Ruth administrator, well into his retirement years. In recognition of his devoted and effective service, he was inducted into the Southeast Region Hall of Fame of the Babe Ruth Leagues in October 2016.
In retirement, Dave and Jay Gushee moved to Front Royal, Virginia. There Dave continued with his Babe Ruth work, faithfully attended St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, and served for 11 years on the Front Royal planning commission, including as its Chairman. Upon his retirement in 2018, Town Councilman Chris Morrison described him as “an incredible person [who is] going to be irreplaceable as far as what he contributed to this town…I’m a better person because I got to know him.”
Jay Gushee died on August 29, 2014, in Front Royal; daughter Janette died on December 2, 2017. Surviving Dave Gushee are his son David (daughter-in-law Jeanie Gushee), of Atlanta, GA, and their children Holly, David, and Marie; daughter Alice (husband, David Prior), of Ruther Glen, VA, and her sons Nicholas and Adam; daughter Kate, of Atlanta, and her son Alexander; and two great-grandchildren, Jonah and Melody, children of Holly Gushee Love and her husband, Jonathan Love.
Dave Gushee will be remembered with love and with respect. He combined a searching intellect with a gentle heart and a thoughtful, service-focused Christian faith. He was a great husband, father, researcher, writer, and contributor to his community. He goes on to be reunited with his beloved wife Jay and daughter Janette and to spend eternity with them in the presence of Jesus Christ.
To honor Dave Gushee, in lieu of flowers consider making a donation to the Babe Ruth League Alumni Association, a 501c3 organization which helps make the Babe Ruth League experience available to players, teams, and leagues who lack funding or face catastrophic loss.