Friends and family remember sophomore Delaney Bush


Delaney Bush, an Otsego sophomore who died in July, will be remembered for her enthusiasm and passion both in and out of the classroom.

"Saying that she was 'upbeat' would be an understatement," said Mallary Wacker, a biology professor whose lab Bush worked in. "She was motivated by curiosity, but she was also very gracious. She knew that she had gifts. She wanted to put them to use and help others."

Bush died in her sleep July 19. The cause of her death has not been determined. A family member said the medical examiner has ruled out heart complications, and is exploring whether her death was caused by a neurological issue. 

Bush studied biology at Central Michigan University, working as a researcher in Wacker’s lab and as a supplemental instructor for the biology department. Wacker first met Bush while teaching a cell biology class for freshmen, in which Bush was a student. 

Weeks into the class, Bush reached out to Wacker to express her enthusiasm for the material and her interest in working in the biology laboratory. Wacker previously turned down students interested in the lab because there wasn't a need for additional staff, but she was so impressed by Bush she decided to let her join. 

Bush graduated from Otsego High School in 2016. She was awarded a Centralis Honors Program Scholarship by CMU. 

Delaney's father, Jonathan Bush, said that his daughter originally had no interest in CMU. Although other family members attended Western, she decided to tour CMU on a whim. By the end of the day, he said Delaney had completely fallen in love with the campus.

Bush was a dedicated and passionate runner. She served as co-captain of Otsego High School's state championship cross-country team. She spent her first day at CMU running the North Country Trail Run Half-Marathon. At the time of her death, Delaney had a three-year streak of running at least one mile each day. 

A one-mile run in Delaney’s memory took place at Otsego High School on Aug. 19, along a route that she used to run. The event was free, though donations could be made to the Delaney Bush Memorial Scholarship, a $1,000 renewable award offered by Otsego Public School Foundation aimed towards students interested in studying science. 

About $5,000 dollars was raised at the event, with more than 200 people in attendance. Friends and family plan to make the run an annual event. 

Before her death, Bush had finished a three-week biological sciences course on Beaver Island. She returned from the trip the Friday before she died, spending the weekend with her family before returning to Mount Pleasant.

Bush opted to stay at CMU during the summer to continue her research in the lab, working with Coopersville senior Samy Lempke. Delaney did her best to liven up the laboratory on a daily basis, Lempke said, either through her jokes or with impromptu dance parties.

"She was full of energy and enthusiasm," Lempke said. "She was amazing. I feel like people sometimes exaggerate things when talking about someone who has passed away, but she really was the nicest person that you'd ever meet."

Bush was an active member of the Catholic Church, serving in youth and teen groups at St. Margaret's School in Otsego, and regularly attending St. Mary's University Parish while at CMU. She also participated in many mission trips and national Catholic youth and young adult events. 

Bush is survived by her mother and father, Erin and Jonathan Bush; her three siblings, Avery, Owen, and Eleanor; and her grandfather, Warren. She is preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Jerilyn and Dennis Clancy and her paternal grandmother Joan Hall Bush.

Bush would have celebrated her 19th birthday on July 27.

Funeral services took place on July 24 at Otsego High School Performing Arts Center.