Tim Bushnell may not have begun his professional life as an educator, but teaching became one of his real passions during his life.
The Timothy Bushnell Memorial Scholarship has helped ensure Bushnell’s legacy for fostering learning in area students can continue since his passing in 2014. Now, the scholarship will continue to preserve that legacy for years to come under the management of the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
Tim graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 1990 with a degree in business and then furthered his education at Simmons Mortuary School in Syracuse in 1991.
Tim married his high school sweetheart, Laurie Ketchner, in 1992. They added to their family, having three beautiful daughters.
Bushnell, an Olean native, began his professional life working as a funeral director in 1992 before becoming a senior accountant at Olean Wholesale 1996.
In 2003, he decided to chase his dream to become a teacher. He enrolled full time in college at JCC and then at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford over the next two years. He finished his master’s degree in education at St. Bonaventure University.
He first taught at Southern Tier Catholic School and then at Cuba-Rushford Central School in the third grade. He later taught sixth grade at Olean Middle School. He stopped teaching due to his sudden illness.
Tim was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiform (brain cancer) in March 2012 when he underwent brain surgery and suffered a stroke. After that he faced intensive physical therapy, chemotherapy and radiation.
A year later he was determined to get back in the classroom with students so a colleague offered to help him come to his classroom once a week to listen to students read.
“Tim believed he was still teaching, and he was, but not lessons from a book,” remembered Laurie (Ketchner) Hughes, Bushnell’s wife. “These students witnessed life lessons of a man who loved to help others and give of himself even when there wasn’t much left to give.”
Bushnell was most remembered in teaching for his passion in helping students and always putting others before himself.
The Tim Bushnell Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide two annual scholarships for graduating seniors – one at Olean High School and one at Portville Central School.
Applicants must be enrolled to attend a two- or four-year college in the fall of their graduation year. Students must be in good academic standing, demonstrate financial need, and submit the required documents for the CRCF common application. There are no preferences for a specific major.
Students can apply for the scholarship when the CRCF scholarship portal opens in February 2021.
Tim passed away Feb. 7, 2014, after a long and courageous battle, but his memory has lived on through the scholarship bearing his name. Since June of 2014 his family has worked to raise funds in order to have given away $19,000 in scholarships to date.
As an endowment fund at CRCF, the scholarship will continue its support in the spirit of Bushnell’s love for his students and education for many more years to come.
“I am determined to honor Tim’s memory and his love and appreciation for education,” Hughes said. “Partnering with CRCF will help me to continue to raise funds for his scholarship.”
“We are honored to be a part of preserving Tim Bushnell’s legacy at CRCF,” CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit said “We know that his love for the teaching profession left a touching, lasting impression on so many of his young students.
“This scholarship ensures that Tim’s impact can last in perpetuity,” she concluded.
Donations can be made to the Tim Bushnell Memorial Scholarship Fund at CRCF, 301 N. Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760 or online at cattfoundation.org
Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).