Nancy Walker Bush Ellis
Nancy Walker Bush

February 4, 1926
DiedJanuary 10, 2021(2021-01-10) (aged 94)
EducationVassar College
Political partyRepublican (1988–2021)
Democratic (before 1988)
Alexander Ellis Jr.
(m. 1946; died 1989)
Parent(s)Prescott Bush
Dorothy Walker
RelativesGeorge H. W. Bush (brother)
George W. Bush (nephew)
Jeb Bush (nephew)

Nancy Walker Bush Ellis (February 4, 1926 – January 10, 2021) was an American environmentalist and political campaigner. She was the only sister of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and aunt of both former President George W. Bush and the former governor of Florida John Ellis Bush.


Nancy Walker Bush was born on February 4, 1926, in Milton, Massachusetts, to Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895–1972) and Dorothy Wear Walker Bush (1901–1992). She had four brothers (one was George H. W. Bush) and became a champion tennis player and athlete in her youth. She was educated at the private school Rosemary Hall in Greenwich (now Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford) and Miss Porter's School in Farmington. She graduated from Vassar College with a degree in English in 1946.[1]

On October 26, 1946, at St. Paul's Church in Greenwich, she married Alexander Ellis Jr. (1922–1989), an executive with insurance firm Fairfield & Ellis (which merged into Corroon & Black,[2] now a part of Willis Group Holdings Ltd.). The couple's wedding guests included James L. Buckley, John V. Lindsay, John Chafee, and Nancy's brother George; Office of Strategic Services agent William B. Macomber Jr. was best man.[3] Together, they had four children: a daughter, Nancy Walker Ellis Black, and three sons, Alexander, John, and Josiah.[1] The family lived in Concord, Massachusetts before she moved to Beacon Hill after her husband's death.[1]

Political activities

Although she had been a liberal Democrat and an environmentalist who actively fundraised for the NAACP and co-chaired the New England section of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund,[4] she joined the Republican Party in 1988 when her brother ran for president.[5] In September 2004, when her nephew was running for reelection, she visited London, Paris[6] and Frankfurt[7] on behalf of Republicans Abroad in an effort to encourage Republicans living in Europe to register and vote.[8]

Volunteer and charitable activities

Ellis long volunteered with the Boston United South End Settlement House, of which she was an honorary director.[9] She also volunteered with the New England Medical Center,[10] the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory of Music.[11]

As a board member of the Massachusetts Audubon Society,[4] an organization that was critical of the George W. Bush administration's widespread encouragement of industry self-regulation,[12] Ellis led fundraising efforts[4] to establish Belize's Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area[13] and the environmental conservation program Programme for Belize.[13] She was also a member of the nongovernmental organization Pact.[4]


Ellis was hospitalized on December 30, 2020, with a fever and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts. She died at an assisted living facility in Concord, Massachusetts, on January 10, 2021, one month shy of her 95th birthday.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Seelye, Katharine Q. (January 10, 2021). "Nancy Bush Ellis, Sister and Aunt of Presidents, Dies at 94". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  2. ^ New York Times obituary of Alexander Ellis Jr.
  3. ^ "Miss Nancy Bush Becomes a Bride". The New York Times. October 27, 1946. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Pact Board of Directors biographies, accessed July 15, 2008
  5. ^ Kitty Kelley, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, Random House, 2004. ISBN 0-385-50324-5
  6. ^ "Nancy Bush Ellis voter registration drive" in Republicans Abroad France Newsletter, Spring 2005, p. 6
  7. ^ "Nancy Bush Promotes Voter Registration". GOP Germany (Press release). June 28, 2004. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008.
  8. ^ Andrea Gerlin, "Gone, but Not Forgotten", Time, October 17, 2004, accessed June 15, 2008
  9. ^ United South End Settlements Archived July 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Board of Directors, accessed July 15, 2008
  10. ^ "Former Board Members Reunite" in Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital for Children Honor Roll of Donors, p. 8
  11. ^ New England Conservatory Annual Report, 2005 Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Mass Audubon opposes weakening of the federal Endangered Species Act Archived July 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, August 2004, Massachusetts Audubon Society, accessed July 15, 2008
  13. ^ a b Belize & Tikal, January 2006 Archived December 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Massachusetts Audubon Society, accessed July 15, 2008
  14. ^ "Nancy Bush Ellis, Only Sister To President George H.W. Bush, Dies Of Coronavirus". Forbes. Retrieved January 10, 2021.