In Memory

George C Bush

George C. Bush, South Pasadena School District Superintendent, murdered May 6, 1940, along with four others, by Verlin Spencer, South Pasadena Junior High School principal.  Mr. Bush had served 32 years in the South Pasadena School District as teacher, vice principal and prinicipal of the high school before becoming the district superintendent. 

He was born September 1, 1874 in Indiana and is survived by his wife, Winnie and daughter Margaret (SPHS '24).


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11/23/12 07:21 PM #1    

George Keith Ainsworth (1968)

my mother applied for a secretary job with the school district about 6 months before Verlin Spencer went on his shooting rampage, the lady who got the job was one of his victims, pretty well freaked out Mom. just to fill in some of the details Verlin was suposedly driven temporalrily insane due to job pressure. one of his victims ,who was wounded was named Miss Andrews and was the jr. high librarian when i was a student there. She walked with a decided limp . I can remember  Mr. Dr. Cooney (my favorite science teacher,worked on the manhatten project ) telling us one day that the story going around that he had jumped out a window to avoid being shot were NOT true. Verlin I believe was given life in prison and I heard wrote a couple of math books while in prison. Having taught 34 years myself I know how stressful the job can be and I have seen more than one of my collegues crack under the stress,but no gunplay fortunately. May George C. Bush R.I.P.

11/26/12 03:53 PM #2    

Steven S Kane (1966)

The shootings in South Pasadena committed by Verlin Spencer were national news in 1940.  This kind of event was extremely rare in that era.  Spencer shot several people, including Superintendent George Bush, at a school board meeting then went to the Junior High and continued his rampage.  I, too, remember Mr. Cooney, (who, incidentally, was an excellent and interesting science teacher) vociferously denying bailing out through his classroom window during the shootings.  I think he was compelled to repeat his denial every school year as the story was passed down and embellished through the generations.  Even if the story was true, who could blame him?  The librarian who was shot was Miss Andrews.  She was still there in 1960 through 1963 when I attended.  Miss Andrews was disabled for life and was a fine librarian and a very good person.  Several of my SPJHS teachers had been at the school in 1940, but few were present in school at the time of the shootings since they occurred in the late afternoon after school was out.  Fortunately, no students were at the school.  Spencer's defense was that he was affected by excessive use of bromide stomach remedies.  That claim may have saved him from the gas chamber, which was used frequently at that time.  I have no idea whether or not the bromide story was true, but it was a pretty innovative defense in 1940.  Spencer was released about 20 years ago after having spent most of his life in prison. By all accounts, George Bush was an excellent superintendent and his death was a loss to the community.  More details of the incident are found in a Los Angeles Times article at the following link:


10/08/14 02:12 PM #3    

Aileen Sylvester (1964)

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