Obituary: Dr. Guy Louis Bush

July 9, 1929 – August 2, 2023

Dr. Guy Louis Bush, a distinguished biologist and fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, was born on July 9, 1929, in Greenfield, Iowa, to Guy Bush and Fausta Louise (Gibbs) Bush died on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.  

During his formative years, frequent relocations around the world were prompted by his father’s position with the USDA and undoubtedly shaped his inquisitive spirit. Guy attended high school in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was there, amidst the rich biodiversity, that his interest in biology deepened into an enduring passion. Intrigued by the mysteries of the natural world, he engaged in orchid-collecting and maintained an aviary of wild birds. A summer spent in a Rockefeller Foundation laboratory within the Brazilian interior further solidified his calling to become a biologist. Guy pursued his undergraduate studies at Iowa State College, culminating in his graduation in 1953 with a degree in Entomology. Following his service as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army Medical Service Corps, he embarked on a journey of discovery at the USDA research lab in Mexico City from 1955 to 1957 working as a research entomologist. It was during this time that fate smiled upon him, introducing him to his beloved future wife, Dolores Alpisa of Paterson, New Jersey, through a serendipitous blind date while attending a mariachi concert. 

Guy returned to the United States in 1957 to attend graduate school at Virginia Polytechnic Institute where he received a master’s degree in Entomology. The year 1959 marked a joyous milestone in his life as he exchanged vows with Dorie, his cherished partner for 62 years, on June 28th in Paterson, New Jersey. Guy and Dorie were surrounded by family, friends, and Dorie’s high school class students.

Having finished doctoral studies in Biology at Harvard University, Guy embarked on a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Melbourne, Australia, broadening his horizons across continents. Fieldwork and collecting Tephritid fruit flies played a significant part of his work in Australia. With only one road spanning across the southern half of the continent, Guy and Dorie drove across the dirt road in a Volkswagen Beetle collecting insects and sleeping under the stars. This was just the beginning of many shared adventures around the world.  

In 1966, Guy and Dorie made their home in Austin, Texas, where Guy began his tenure as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The city of Austin witnessed the joyous arrivals of their children, Lisa and Guy Louis. In 1971, a new adventure beckoned, moving Guy to Wadenswil, Switzerland where he served as a visiting research scientist at the Swiss Federal Research Station. While there, Guy and Dorie welcomed the birth of their third child, Eliana. 

The family returned to Austin and Guy’s research on Rhagoletis Pomonella, a fruit fly,  brought the family to the picturesque Door County Peninsula of Wisconsin. Guy and Dorie fell in love with the area’s natural beauty. They returned year after year for summers during which Guy and graduate students collected and studied Rhagoletis in apple and cherry orchards. Guy always found time for family, sailing, cook outs, enjoying sunsets and of course cherry pie. 

After receiving the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1977, the family spent 1980 in Berkeley, California where Guy served as a visiting professor. 

In 1981, Guy bid farewell to UT and continued his career at Michigan State University. His appointment as a Hannah Distinguished Professor allowed him to focus on his research and lifetime interest in the hypothesis of sympatric speciation by host shifting, particularly for plant specialist insects. Guy and his students performed critical experiments and published numerous studies that solidified his theories of species formation. His discoveries provided a better understanding of the critical role ecological adaptation plays in the origin of species and the development of biodiversity. His papers have been cited more than 11,000 times in scientific literature. This fruitful chapter of his life continued until his well-earned retirement in 2001, after which he and Dorie made their home in serene Door County. 

In their twilight years, Guy and Dorie returned to Austin to enjoy warmer weather and friendships, both new and old. 

Throughout his life, Guy enjoyed reading, sailing, fly fishing, music and the arts. Guy was a skilled woodworker, watercolor painter, and jeweler. He was a devoted husband and father and cherished his time spent with his family, including several trusty labrador retrievers. 

Guy Louis Bush’s name shall forever be etched in the annals of biology and celebrated for his contributions to our understanding of the natural world. 

Guy leaves behind a legacy of love and intellectual curiosity, survived by his children, Lisa Bush, Guy (Kay) Bush, and Eliana (Jim) Nagrant and his grandchildren, Ben Bush, Gabe Bush, Isla Nagrant, and Lily Nagrant, and his sister Lola Munson. He is preceded in death by his parents Guy and Fausta Louise, his wife Dolores Alpisa Bush, his brothers-in-law Dr. Arvid Munson and Everett Conklin, and his sisters-in-law Eliane Abruzzo and Mary Conklin. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting a donation to the Society for the Study of Evolution (, the Door County (WI) Land Trust (, or Grants in Aid of Research at Sigma Xi (