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Jonathan Bush, Last of a Political Generation, Dies at 89

Jonathan Bush, a financier and younger brother of former President George Bush and an uncle of former President George W. Bush, died on Wednesday at his home in Jupiter, Fla. He was 89.

The death was announced by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation.

Mr. Bush was the last surviving member of his generation of the Bush family. George Bush, the second of five siblings, died in 2018 at his home in Houston. Their sister, Nancy Bush Ellis, died in January from complications of Covid-19. Their youngest brother, William Henry Trotter Bush, known as Bucky, died in 2018, and the eldest brother, Prescott Bush Jr., died in 2010.

Jonathan was the fourth child born to Prescott Bush, a Wall Street investment banker who represented Connecticut in the United States Senate from 1952 to 1963, and Dorothy Wear Walker Bush.

In 1989, during the elder George Bush’s presidency, The New York Times described Jonathan as “a leading New York Republican.” He brokered deals between political factions, raised money and became finance chairman of the state party.

“Politics is a big game of gossip,” he said in 1988. “I like being involved.”

In addition to his activities in New York, Jonathan was often sent by his brother as an official stand-in at ceremonies across the world.

Jonathan James Bush was born in Greenwich, Conn., on May 6, 1931. In 1953, following a family tradition, he graduated from Yale. He spent two years in the Army and four and a half years as a dancer and actor, appearing in five versions of “Oklahoma!”

When he was 30, after not passing an audition for “Take Me Along,” a Broadway musical starring Jackie Gleason, Mr. Bush went into finance and joined G.H. Walker & Company, a firm founded by his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker. In 1970 he left to found his own firm, J. Bush & Company, which managed the money of wealthy clients.

Mr. Bush married Josephine Bradley in 1967 and had two sons with her, Jonathan and Billy. They survive him, along with many grandchildren.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Billy became a national figure after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which he was heard laughing and egging on Donald J. Trump while Mr. Trump described his treatment of women in extraordinarily vulgar terms.

The elder Jonathan Bush, who campaigned for his nephew Jeb Bush during the 2016 race, was a vocal defender of the Bush family legacy, emphasizing his father’s motto: “Moderation in all things.” In 1990, Jonathan’s sister Nancy told New York magazine that he was “the backbone of the family.”

The New York Times contributed reporting.

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