Cover photo for Ceva Jean Bates Bush Curtis's Obituary

Ceva Jean Bates Bush Curtis

Ceva Jean Bates Bush Curtis

Ceva Jean Bates Bush Curtis

April 4, 1927 - September 7, 2021

Mother, teacher, counselor, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, sister, homemaker.

Her life was dedicated to her faith and family.


Ceva Jean Bates Bush Curtis. Born, April 27, 1927 in Visalia, California she spent most of her young life in rural communities near Caldwell, Idaho. In her teens, she and her sisters were part of the state’s winning women’s softball team. Later, just before college, she fibbed about her age and joined her Mom, Gladys, sister Carleen, and brother Kyle working in the shipyards in Portland for the war effort.

She was the last surviving sibling among the ‘Original 8’ a name given to the Bates kids when as young families they began an annual family reunion more than 50 years ago.

The fifth in line, and the smallest, Ceva’s siblings often joked she was treated more favorably by their parents - which could have contributed to her generally positive outlook and optimistic view of life. She was a vivacious cheerleader for Caldwell High School and later the University of Idaho vandals. While working at the Hayes Hall dorm as server, she met a handsome ‘hasher (server) name Milan Bush. They married in 1948, spending their first years at University until Milan graduated. They set up house and began a family, moving a few times, before settling in Boise, Idaho, where Milan began a 40 year tenure at Albertson’s, and Ceva finished her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She started teaching PE, then became a counselor for the Boise School district at Fairmont Junior High, retiring after more than 20 years.

She was a member of Red Rock Christian Church for decades, and was instrumental in helping Red Rock survive a fire which destroyed the original red rock building and thrive in its rebuilding. She was an elder of the church and served on or chaired many committees.

She loved camping with her family and college friends, traversing campgrounds in southern Idaho in the Blue Goose, and later building a cabin near Cascade, Idaho, which was a haven for friends and family for many years.

Lessons learned from depression-era parents lead to a lifetime of thrifty skills - gardening, preserving, and sewing. She and her sisters were relentlessly creative at making gifts and treasures from bits and castoffs - transforming them into cowboy vests and chaps, card table tents and bedroom curtains and lampshades.

Her favorite activities were playing pinochle with family, most especially with grandkids, making favorite meals for kids and grandkids such as tamale casserole or chicken and noodles, or everyone’s favorite; rice krispy treats.

Ceva and Milan kept in touch with many of their college friends over the years. After Milan passed, friends Tom and Dorothy Curtis kept in more frequent contact, which continued after Dorothy also passed. Tom and Ceva’s shared past became the basis for a new relationship, and they were married in 2012, then settled into Tom’s home in Portland, Oregon.

In addition to her husband, Tom, Ceva is survived by her three children, Janet, Ernie (wife Joanne), Ken (wife Laura), five grandchildren - Stephanie (Kate), David (Brianna), Andrew (Megan), John, and Anna (Bobby), and six great grandchildren - Eve, Kenny, Lucas, Ceva, Audrey and Teddy, and step children, Stan (Ann), Ann (PJ) and Louise (Michael).

A memorial service has been scheduled at the Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel in Boise, Idaho; Saturday, September 18 , viewing at 9 am, service at 9:30 am, followed by burial at Canyon Hill Cemetery.

Since COVID has made it very difficult for churches, in lieu of flowers we ask that you to send a donation to the church of your choice in Ceva’s name.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ceva Jean Bates Bush Curtis, please visit our flower store.

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