Lois Caresse Gray Bush

Lois Caresse Gray Bush

Lois Caresse Gray Bush, 89, of Celoron, died Tuesday May 19, 2020, in her home.

She was born Feb. 9, 1931, in Jamestown, to Roscoe Conklin Gray and Bessie Amanda Blood Gray.

Caresse lived her entire life on Linwood Avenue in Celoron, attending both Celoron Elementary and Celoron High School. She had many fond memories growing up in this close knit lakeside village, once famous for its beautiful amusement park and Lucille Ball. Roller skating at the park’s rink is where she met her handsome sailor, James Bush.

Caresse and Jim owned and operated the antique shop on Dunham Avenue in Celoron. Together they restored antique furniture and trunks. Caresse was also a master at restoring vintage linens to pristine condition and most notably known for her charming, detailed, handcrafted Santas. Caresse and Jim traveled near and far selling their handiwork at juried shows, craft fairs and their local shop. It was at this time Caresse was recognized as one of the top national folk artists. Michaelian Home reproduced her artwork into hooked rugs and pillows which sold nationwide in several catalogs. She also produced a line of Christmas cards from her original paintings which sold in several shops around the country.

Prior to running her shop, she conducted household sales and her interest in antiques and collectables led to speaking to local groups, sharing her expertise and knowledge, which turned a hobby into a business she operated for 45 years.

She also wrote short stories and articles for several small publications. “Out and About” printed several where she reminisced about her childhood growing up during the depression in Celoron.

Caresse was active in PTA while raising her family and room mother every year with the most beautifully decorated treats.

As a member of Celoron’s Recreation Committee, she helped plan all the yearly activities for the village. Her handcrafted costumes were always winners at the village Halloween party.

When her children were toddlers she saw a need for a safe place for the village children to play so, together with the neighbors on Linwood Avenue and Burtis Street, they acquired land between the two streets, cleared it, purchased and installed a few pieces of playground equipment and turned the project over to the village to formally open Burtis Street Playground. Also motivated by Celoron’s former lakeside beauty, she served on the Village Zoning and Planning Board for many years. She was hopeful for Celoron’s revitalization due to the recent lakeside development and completion of the beautiful new hotel.

She had an artistic eye, a flair for design and display- birthdays and holidays were beautiful and Christmas Eve was magical; laughter, shared stories, games by the fire, the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree of antique ornaments, packages that looked like works of art and best of all, her homemade pies. If you were family, you had better be home for Christmas Eve- it was her holiday- no excuses. Our German tradition of opening presents and stockings on Christmas Eve was one she insisted on, and loved by all.

This stubborn, tiny, dark-haired lady will be remembered by friends and family for her fierce loyalty to them, her ready smile and contagious laugh

We will miss you, “Mom.”

Caresse is survived by two children: daughter, Vicki Laury (Ted) of West Ellicott and son, Craig Bush of Celoron; three granddaughters: Heather Ryczek (Chris) of Victor, N.Y., Graysya Redenback (Justin) of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Ashley Bush of North East, Pa.; three grandsons: Christopher Laury (Michael) of Lakewood, N.Y., Michael Laury of Bradenton, Fla., and Andrew Laury (Kelsey) of Lakewood, N.Y.; nine great-grandchildren: Spencer, Mitchell, Drew and Cooper Ryczek, all of Victor, N.Y., Paige Redenback of Cheektowaga, N.Y., Ava, Ivan and Emma Laury and Griffin Laury-Baronich, all of Lakewood, N.Y.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, James Bush, who died Sept. 9, 2012; and a sister, Marian Eddy.

Special thanks to her care givers, grandson, Michael Laury, niece, Gordia Thompson, aide, Denise and Hospice workers: Amy, Julie and Laurie.

Due to restrictions of the pandemic no funeral service or visitation will be observed.

Inurnment of both Caresse and Jim will be at Sunset Hill Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Arthritis Foundation, P.O. Box 38042, Albany, NY 12203 or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Ave., 16th Floor, New York, NY 10001B