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Utah historian, author and filmmaker Wilbur L. "Bud" Rusho died last week at the age of 82 of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Known for his work for the Bureau of Reclamation chronicling the building of the Glen Canyon Dam, his two books about the Utah wanderer Everett Ruess who disappeared in 1934 somewhere in the Utah desert, his work as a founding member of the Utah Westerners and his numerous films, Rusho was regarded as one of the most thorough Western historians.
"Bud Rusho knew as much history of every square foot of the West as any man who ever set foot on the planet," said Steve Gallenson, president of the Westerners Club, an organization founded in 1967 whose primary objective is to promote knowledge and understanding of Western history and culture through literature.
Gallenson, who spoke Monday at a memorial service for Rusho, said one of the last people to visit the historian was river runner and Lake Powell foe Ken Sleight.
"I watched Ken Sleight and Bud have one of their last visits at the hospice facility, Bud the builder of Glen Canyon Dam and Ken Sleight who devoted his life to the concept of wild rivers and untamed wilderness," said Gallenson. "They were great friends, laughing at the fact that they should have been mortal enemies, but were in fact tremendously devoted friends. He could be vehemently opposed to your politics, but he would not risk friendship over philosophy."
After graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder and working for the Civil Service Commission, Rusho spent much of his professional career working as a public information officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, where was employed from 1958 to 1988. He documented the building of the Glen Canyon Dam and the creation of Lake Powell.
"His gathering of photos of Glen Canyon was important and long-lasting," said Roy Webb of the University of Utah's Marriott Library Special Collections, where Rusho's family requested donations be sent to preserve the Utah River Running Archives. "He was proud of working on Glen Canyon but at the same time, regretted what it had done. He was the first person to really write about Everett Ruess to bring him out of obscurity."
He is survived by his wife, Carole McGee, his children Patrick Rusho, Rebecca Wallace, Paul Anthony Rusho and Jane Collison, and grandchildren Aaron Watt Rousseau and Michael Collison.