Asa Bushnell ’47 at Reunions in 2010.
Asa Bushnell ’47 at Reunions in 2010.
Frank Wojciechowski

Few alumni are more devoted to the University, and particularly to their classmates, than the class secretaries who recount the large and small moments of your lives. It’s a hard job, requiring tact, diplomacy, energy, organization, and many hours of work.

Among the best was Asa “Ace” Bushnell ’47, who died at 85 on March 14 — four days after he received an award for his work helping thousands of Tucson residents battle addiction. Ace, a former newspaperman, served as class secretary for 35 years; when he landed in a hospital intensive-care unit in February, he worried about missing his deadline (he made it).  

His obituary in the Arizona Daily Star was headlined: “Avid public servant Bushnell dies.” Ace knew what it was like to come on hard times; he made no secret of his long struggle with alcoholism and, after he became sober 42 years ago, spent the rest of his life helping others fight their dependence on drugs and alcohol. “He had a hard time saying ‘no’ to people, especially those who were in need of help,” the Pima County sheriff told the newspaper.  

Here at PAW, we will remember Ace most for his kindness. He called himself a “cockeyed optimist,” even when he began dialysis for kidney failure — an experience he wrote about for PAW Online in 2009. We saw him year after year at Reunions, which he never missed. He always had the brightest smile in the room.

— Marilyn H. Marks *86