Fishing & Boating News


by: Dennis Phillips, Walker Agency,

(Mar. 30, 2005 - Overland Park, KS) David Pearsall Bushnell, who founded the Bushnell Optical Corporation and grew it to become the largest source of binoculars in the United States, passed away quietly at his home in Laguna Beach, Calif., on March 24, 2005. He was 92. “The entire Bushnell Performance Optics family mourns the loss of our company’s founder and namesake, Dave Bushnell. He was a gentleman with an adventurous spirit and special character.  We will carry on the rich Bushnell tradition and conduct our business with the same energy and passion that guided Dave through his life,” said Joe Messner, President & CEO, Bushnell Performance Optics. Born March 31, 1913, in St. Paul, Minn., the son of Myron Birge and Mary Emma (Pearsall) Bushnell, Bushnell moved with his family at a young age to Los Angeles, Calif. He was a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and also studied foreign trade at the University of Southern California where he received his BA cum laude in 1936. Bushnell went to work at the headquarters of Sunkist, but after some months decided to strike out on his own, leaving Sunkist to go into the import-export business. The coming years saw him trade in commodities such as asbestos from Arizona, turquoise from Iran and cement from Belgium. During World War II, Bushnell’s experience put him at Lockheed where he worked in collections. One of his occasional sayings was that luck is “Labor Under Correct Knowledge.” Luck was also following his instincts. David founded the company in 1947 when he purchased 400 binoculars in the Orient while on his honeymoon.  A shipping strike prevented the pre-Christmas delivery of the binoculars, resulting in the cancellation of all his orders.  He placed an advertisement in a sporting goods magazine, resulting in a mail-order business that has since blossomed into Bushnell Performance Optics.   In 1972 Bushnell was purchased by Bausch & Lomb, sold by them in 1995 to Worldwide Sports and Recreation and sold in 1999 to Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm located in Detroit.   David P. Bushnell is survived by his wife, Nancy, and by his children, David, Jean Salfen, Steven, and Natasha (John) Suter, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.