Since February 2010, Mr. Rush had been a member of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment. He also served on the board of the Interstate Land Management Corp. and was former vice chair of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, which works with the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. on a master plan for the waterfront.
In the 1980s, Mr. Rush opposed the proposal to construct I-95 ramps in Queen Village. Later he was a leader in the fight against the plan to build a casino in South Philadelphia.
He supported the designation in 2008 of Queen Village as the city's first Neighborhood Conservation District. The designation requires the City Planning Commission to review a specific set of design guidelines for every construction project in the district that requires a building permit. The guidelines are meant to preserve the characteristics of Queen Village architecture.
Michael Hauptman, an architect who is on the boards of the Queen Village Neighbors Association and the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., worked with Mr. Rush on community issues for eight years, most recently on plans for the waterfront.
"Whenever there was a neighborhood issue, Jeff jumped right in and got involved. He knew just about everyone in the city. He was very respected," Hauptman said, "and he made people listen."
Rene Goodwin, a Pennsport activist and a friend, said, "What I learned from Jeff is to sit down with people and come to a civilized compromise."
He worked with all types of politicians for the good of the neighborhood, Goodwin said.
"Jeff was always willing to listen to the other side," former City Councilman Frank DiCicco said, "except where it came to casinos."
Mr. Rush was a prolific letters-to-the-editor contributor on topics ranging from tax breaks for the elderly to teenagers' causing havoc on South Street.
In a 2002 opinion article, he responded to a Philadelphia Daily News reporter who advocated raising city real estate taxes. The reporter wrote that early gentrifiers "didn't exactly clear forests and homestead on the frontier."
Mr. Rush countered: "My wife and I bought in Swede's Court in Queen Village in 1981, with unpaved streets, no fire hydrants, and no trash pickup. . . . We have no problem carrying our fair share of the freight and love this city fiercely."
Mr. Rush grew up in South Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School. He attended Temple University and was an Army veteran.
He was a devoted Phillies and Eagles fan, and he and his wife, Kathleen McCann Rush, enjoyed spending time at their vacation home at the Jersey Shore.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Rush is survived by a brother, David.
A funeral was Thursday, Aug. 16, at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks in Philadelphia. Burial was in Locustwood Memorial Park, Cherry Hill.
Donations may be made to QVNA, Box 63763, Philadelphia 19147, for the establishment of a Jeff Rush Community Improvement Fund.
Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.