ONE OF THE best things to happen to Harold Rush in his later years was the birth in February 2006 of his grandson, Adonis De Andre Rush.

Just to hear the tyke call him "Pop-Pop" was enough to put a smile on his face and give him a needed boost as he endured his final illness.

Harold died Friday after a lengthy illness. He was 80 and lived in West Mount Airy.

He was a longtime teacher in the Philadelphia School District, with special attention to troubled youngsters, whom he also served as a city employee.

"Harold spent all of his adult life helping inspire young people to reach their full potential," his family wrote.

He taught math, physical education and special education in elementary schools, and directed the school district's participation in the Juvenile Court Truancy Project.

On loan to the city, he worked at the Youth Services Coordinating Office and the Youth Employment and Training Program. He taught at the Youth Development Center at Fort Mifflin.

He taught at a number of schools, most notably the Gen. John F. Reynolds Elementary School, at 24th and Jefferson streets.

Harold was born in Alton, Ill., and grew up in Centralia, where he graduated from high school and was both an outstanding scholar and a four-letter varsity athlete.

After high school, he joined the Army and served in the Pacific, where he played basketball for a service team.

Returning to the States, he attended the University of Wisconsin for a year. In 1948, he transferred to the University of Maryland with a full scholarship. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in mathematics and physical education in 1952.

During his college career, he was captain of the basketball team and also played varsity football and baseball and ran track.

While in Trenton in 1952, he met his future wife, Dorothy Summers. They moved to Philadelphia that September and he began teaching and also worked for the Postal Service.

He and Dorothy were married in 1954. She became a school principal and a member of the Board of Education.

Harold was active in local Democratic politics for many years. He was campaign manager for George Burrell for City Council in 1987, and worked in the mayoral campaigns of W. Wilson Goode and John F. Street.

After Harold retired from the School District, he became a partner in T-Enta Vending.

He worked through many organizations as a mentor and raised funds for scholarships.

He was active with the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club, the Metropolitan Boys and Girls Club, Christian Street YMCA, the National Freedom Day Association and the Upper Wissahickon Civic Association.

He was past president, secretary and treasurer of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Alumni Association.

He and Dorothy were members of St. Paul's Baptist Church, and in 1987, joined Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, where he was active in the scholarship and endowment fund.

Harold was devoted to the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, which he served in a number of capacities, including keeper of records and pledge dean of the Philadelphia alumni chapter. He also chaired several committees.

He received numerous awards from Kappa Alpha Psi, as well as honors from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Bruce; daughter, Jocelyn C. Rush, and his grandson.

Services: 11 a.m. Saturday at Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown. Friends may call at 8 a.m. A Kappa Alpha Psi service will be held at 10:15 a.m. Burial will be Monday in Ivy Hill Cemetery, Woolston Avenue and Easton Road.