Selma Marie (Huggins) Bush

September 7, 1943 ~ June 1, 2022 (age 78)


Selma Marie (Huggins) Bush died peacefully at the Bryan Hospice Home in Pittsboro, North Carolina, on June 1, 2022, after a second severe stroke. She was 78 years old.

Marie was born on September 7, 1943, at the Mare Island Navy Hospital in Vallejo, California, the first child of Judson Dean Huggins and Rose Marie (Lawson) Huggins. She and her mother lived in Orlando, Florida, while her father served on submarines in the Pacific Theater. The Navy took their family Oahu, Hawaii; Staten Island, New York City; Newport, Rhode Island; and Key West, Florida.

Marie earned an Associate Degree in Arts at the University of Florida, where she met Ross Bush. After a Friday 13th engagement in November 1964, they married May 7, 1965, at the First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Florida.

During the early years of their marriage, they moved frequently through the southeast following Ross' work. While they lived in Montgomery, Alabama, Marie continued her education at Huntingdon College and Auburn University. Later she taught in Dorchester County, South Carolina and Union County, North Carolina. They first moved to the Triangle area of North Carolina in 1972, to which they would return several times. It would be a "home town" for their three children, born in 1968, 1973, and 1978.

Marie and Ross built their homes in Rosewood, North Carolina and Lexington, South Carolina, while their children were in school. Marie helped dig foundations, managed the contractors, and finished the interiors: laying tile, painting walls, and staining wood floors.

Marie served as a scout leader for each of their three children. She instilled a love for the outdoors and the beauty of the natural world. She enjoyed camping, and would spend hours scouring beaches for seashells. She taught her children to value all wild creatures, and she helped them to love and care for horses, cats, dogs, and chickens. She loved gardening and created beautiful and fruitful landscapes around their homes.

She always had a book at hand, evidence of her belief that education was a lifelong pursuit, and kept family in mind as she read, sharing clippings of poems and news. She enjoyed cooking, craftwork, and sewing.

In 1988, the family moved to Winter Park, Florida, close to Marie's parents and extended family. She gathered the family together to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. She began to research her Swedish heritage, spending time with her aunts and learning more of her Swedish grandparents.

In 1995, Ross and Marie returned to North Carolina and began building their last home together in Apex. Marie continued to explore her Swedish heritage by joining Vasa Lodge of America and Friends of Scandinavia, and she started a small business importing beautiful items from Sweden. She also continued her education with culinary arts at Wake Tech. Her internship at Edible Art helped her hone skills at making beautiful cakes that were works of art, ornamented with beautifully sculpted gum paste flowers, and eaten with delight by friends and family.

Marie responded to those in need. She hosted a refugee family from Burma, a young Belarusian girl who visited North Carolina for medical care over three summers, and a woman who needed to be close to Duke University waiting for an organ transplant. Marie volunteered in civic, charitable, and faith organizations throughout her life. She was active at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill, sharing her gifts of baking, enjoying the community of the quilting group, and joining spiritual development groups. Marie’s love of community and breaking bread with others drove her to create Luther’s Cafe, the coffee hour between services, to encourage social bonds between congregants.

In December 2018 she survived a severe stroke, paralyzing her right arm and leg, and affecting her ability to speak. She returned home to the loving and constant care of Ross, spending her time with family. At her last birthday, all her grandchildren were around her in a 1960s themed party. She still found ways to help others, including gentle support of her mother-in-law who moved in for hospice care in early 2022. Sitting by her mother-in-law’s bedside, Marie gently encouraged her to eat and comforted her before her mother-in-law’s death. Less than two months later, Marie's family was at her bedside as she quietly passed away.

Marie was predeceased by her parents, Judson Dean Huggins, Sr and Rose Marie Huggins.

Surviving is her husband, Laurier Ross Bush of Apex, NC, her children Judith Elaine Bush (Christine Bush) of Pittsboro, NC, Laura Christine Sandvik (Todd Sandvik) of Pittsboro, NC, Nathan Garrett Bush (Melindah Bush) of Singapore, her sister Judy Potocki (John Potocki) of Winter Park, FL, her brother Jud Huggins (Patricia Huggins) of Ormond Beach, FL, her caregiver Brenda Iturralde of Pittsboro, NC,  her five grandchildren, her nephew and niece, and many cousins.

A memorial is planned for later this summer.   Gifts may be made to organizations Marie supported:

Lutheran World Relief (!/donation/checkout?c_src=website&c_src2=orange-button ),

Sierra Club (*3y7jmh*_ga*MTk2NTIyMDkwMy4xNjU0NTMwMDU0*_ga_41DQ5KQCWV*MTY1NDUzMDA1My4xLjEuMTY1NDUzMjkyMS4w&_ga=2.11239613.824596611.1654530059-1965220903.1654530054 ),  or

Habitat for Humanity ( ).

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