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Bushelman Remembered for Dedication to CISE and Education

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A week before he passed away in late June, Peter Bushelman made a very special request: that the Friends of CISE (Catholic Inner-City Schools Education Fund) Raffle he chaired for 37 years would continue.

Held each December, the raffle raises more than $120,000 annually to help transform the lives of urban children by providing access to a strong Catholic education. Bushelman became a member of the CISE Advisory Board in 1980, when then-Archbishop Joseph Bernardin formed the organization. By 2018, Bushelman’s efforts raised more than $2.9 million for CISE.

Bushelman was a member of St. James of the Valley Parish in Wyoming. He grew up in nearby Glendale, one of eight children in a family where charitable giving was the norm. His father, George, set the example.

“My dad was charitable,” Bushelman said in a 2017 interview. “He’d give his last dollar to the collection during the Depression. Coming from a family like that, you just learn it.”

After attending all 12 grades at St. Gabriel School in Glendale, Bushelman served a stint in the Army and attended Miami University. In 1963, he married Marilyn Koetter, whom he met while they both worked at Central Trust. The couple went on to have three sons: William “Bill,” Joseph and Andrew. (Marilyn Bushelman passed away in 2011 at age 79.)

“One of the many reasons to celebrate Pete’s life was that he was such a huge supporter of education as a means to end poverty,” said Mabe Rodriguez, executive director of CISE. “The love he had for CISE was unbelievable.”

His commitment to the raffle was such that in the months prior to the event, Bushelman would contact his friends and even go door to door to sell tickets. He would also send a personal letter to the previous year’s donors.

“We promised him the raffle would continue,” Rodriguez added, noting that Brian Brockhoff, chairman of the CISE Board of Trustees, has agreed to chair the 2019 raffle. “People should start receiving their invitations soon. We want to make it really special this year to honor Pete.”

Bushelman’s dedication to helping others was not limited to CISE. He could often be found delivering food to the homeless or a local food pantry or helping an invalid neighbor in need.

Over the years, he actively served on more than a dozen non-profit boards, including St. Rita School for the Deaf and Roger Bacon High School. Bushelman was also a founding member of the HOME program of the Sisters of Mercy, which supports independent living for the elderly poor, and a supporter of causes such as the Bishop Fenwick Society, Good Shepherd Montessori and the Catholic Ministries Appeal. An endowed scholarship at Mount Notre Dame High School is named for him. In recognition of Bushelman’s service to the Church, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr presented him with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, the highest papal medal a layman can receive.

A Mass for Bushelman will be celebrated at 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 29 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains with Archbishop Schnurr presiding.

The schools supported by CISE are St. Boniface in Northside; Corryville Catholic; St. Francis Seraph in Over-the-Rhine; St. Joseph in the West End; St. Francis de Sales in East Walnut Hills; Holy Family, St. Lawrence, Resurrection; and St. William in Price Hill. St. William is a new addition, Rodriguez said, adding, “We’re so excited that we’ll be able to help 240 to 250 more students.”

Archbishop Schnurr and Pete Bushelman
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