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First black U.S. Supreme Court page dies

Nov. 30, 2012 at 1:56 PM   |   Comments

LOLO, Mont., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Charles V. Bush, the first black to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court page, and one of the first black Air Force Academy graduates, has died in Montana. He was 72.

Bush's wife, Bettina Bush, said he died from colon cancer Nov. 5 at his home in Lolo, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Bush, who grew up in segregated Washington, was 14 years old when he was named a Supreme Court page in July 1954. Bush worked primarily in the anteroom of Chief Justice Earl Warren, who sought the appointment of an African-American.

Bush was a member of the debate and rugby teams and a squadron commander at the Air Force Academy, before graduating in 1963.

Bush served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, overseeing intelligence teams during the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Khe Sanh, the Post said.

He left the Air Force in 1970 with the rank of captain. His son, Chip Bush, said the elder Bush left in part because he thought he was overlooked for a promotion due to his race.

Besides his work in the corporate sector, Bush was a diversity consultant to the Air Force and the Air Force Academy, the Post said. His corporate career included work in executive-level positions for companies, including Max Factor and Hughes Electronics.

Survivors include his wife, three children, his mother, a sister, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

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