Beverly Rushing was a child of the Depression era, born in 1930 just before her parents divorced. Her mother was then left without any means of support and a baby to raise, so she began waitressing in a local diner. She then met a young Texan from a construction company in the area. They took a liking to each other and were soon married. Working for a contract construction company meant they would move up and down the west coast for work, all the way from Arizona to California, Nevada, Oregon and as far north as Prince George, Canada.
It was during this time when Beverly’s eyesight started diminishing. It must have been difficult to move from school to school as the family traveled for the job. But the various schools found a way to help her with the necessary reading and writing. Many times, it was other students who were asked to help the girl with poor vision. She said this was always challenging because the other kids would rather be playing outside during recess.
After the end of World War II the family, now with three children, returned to Beverly’s family roots of Rogue River in southern Oregon and made it their home.
Bev continued in public schools until she reached high school level. That is when she lost the rest of her vision and she moved away from home to attend the Oregon
School for the Blind in Salem, Oregon. It was here where Bev first met Bob Rushing.
After graduation Bev attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Again, she had to have the aid of volunteer readers. It was difficult to take notes while the volunteer was reading since they didn’t want to waste too much time waiting for her to write her notes in braille. The distance from Coos Bay to Portland did not deter Bob from visiting Bev. He would drive all the way to see her, until finally he convinced her to marry him. Bev’s father was so glad, saying college was getting expensive.
Bev and Bob finally married April 30, 1950. In 1951 a daughter came along. It was in the mid-1950s that they were introduced to the Oregon Council of the Blind (later to become ACB of Oregon) when they were living in Coos Bay. They joined the Southwestern Chapter, which was quite active. It was mostly a social group, as the members were all fairly young with families. The meetings were mostly potlucks and were held in different member’s homes.
Bev was a working mother. One of her first jobs was as a switchboard operator and front desk receptionist for the Oregon Commission for the Blind. Later, she was part of the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors Program managing a cafeteria at Western Electric Company in Portland for over ten years.
Bob and Bev eventually moved to Salem, Oregon in 1986 in anticipation of retirement. They moved into a great mobile home community where they made close friends. With retirement came the opportunity to become much more involved in ACB of Oregon (formerly known as Oregon Council of the Blind).
They joined the ACB of Oregon Willamette Chapter where Bev held various offices. She also held the position of ACB of Oregon District Representative, secretary and then president for several various terms (nearly 5 terms in all).
Shortly after moving to Salem, Bob and Bev joined in a mission to lobby the state legislature to save the Oregon School for the Blind. This was a joint effort along with Oregon Talking Books and Braille Services as well as the Oregon Commission for the Blind. Unfortunately, this effort failed, and blind children in the state suffered from this loss. A few years later Bob and Bev joined efforts with many local neighbors and agencies to unsuccessfully save the last historical building on the Oregon School for the Blind property from being torn down.
Being active in ACB gave Bob and Bev the motivation to travel in their retirement, taking the opportunity to visit the various locations hosting the ACB national conventions.
As you can tell, ACB of Oregon was a great part of their lives. Bev received awards from ACB of Oregon — a life membership in 1997 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2003.
Bev passed away on January 23, 2021, and will be interred next to Bob in Rogue River, Oregon.
ACB of Oregon Service
Member of OCB/ACB of Oregon since mid-1950s – 2021
Several years: ACB of Oregon secretary
1993: District One Representative
Mid-1994 - 1995: ACB of Oregon president (previous President resigned)
1996 – 1999: ACB of Oregon president - Three Terms
2002 – 2003: ACB of Oregon president – One Term