George H.W. Bush Passes Away, ‘A Hero for Our Time’

As 41st president, he saw America through the end of the Cold War, leaves behind five children and 17 grandchildren

Image Credit: Joe Mitchell/Getty Images

Former President George H.W. Bush, who spent most of his life in public service and as president scored a decisive victory over Saddam Hussein, passed away at his home in Houston on Fright night at age 94.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush died shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, about eight months after the death of his beloved wife, Barbara Bush.

He is survived by five children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. A sixth child died in early childhood.

The late former president also is survived by 17 grandchildren.

Related: George Herbert Walker Bush, Rest in Peace

Former President George W. Bush issued the following statement upon his father’s death: “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump also issued a statement about the passing of the 41st president, saying, in part, “Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service.”

The White House said Saturday that President Trump plans to attend the Washington funeral of the former president at Washington National Cathedral. He is designating next Wednesday, December 5, as a national day of mourning.

The tributes to the former president continue to pour in on Saturday.

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, simply wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning, “I already miss the greatest human being that I will ever know. Love you, Dad!”

Faith leader Franklin Graham on Saturday morning on “Fox & Friends” noted Bush’s spirituality and his deep faith over the years. When asked for the one word that would describe the former president he said, “Gentle.”

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in part in a statement, “We mourn the passing of an American patriot, former President George H.W. Bush. President Bush dedicated himself to serving his country in many roles: a naval aviator, a congressman, an ambassador, RNC chairman, CIA director, vice president, and commander-in-chief. He stood for American strength and cared deeply for the American people, alongside his late wife Barbara.”

“America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush,” said former President Barack Obama in a statement. “While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude. Our thoughts are with the entire Bush family tonight — and all who were inspired by George and Barbara’s example.”

And former president Bill Clinton issued this:

George Herbert Walker Bush was born June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Dorothy Walker Bush and Prescott Bush, a banker who later became a GOP senator from Connecticut, as Fox News and other outlets have noted. The family, which included four sons and one daughter, was wealthy and politically active.

Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and after graduating on his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

He was commissioned that same year, becoming the youngest pilot ever to serve in the Navy, and flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific.

In 1944, he was hit by anti-aircraft fire some 600 miles south of Japan but managed to bail out. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.

On Jan. 6, 1945, the 20-year-old Bush married 19-year-old Barbara Pierce of Rye, New York, whom he had met at a Christmas party three years earlier.

They had four sons, George, Jeb, Neil and Marvin, and two daughters, Robin and Dorothy. Robin died of leukemia at age 3.

After World War II, he enrolled at Yale University, where his first son, George W., was born. Bush graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in economics and was captain of the varsity baseball team.

He and Barbara moved to Texas, where he worked in the oil business and was elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. After losing a Senate campaign in 1970, Bush was appointed to a number of high-level political positions: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as Fox News also noted.

In 1980 he was elected to the first of two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president and in 1988 was nominated by the Republicans to carry the party’s banner, with Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate, in that year’s presidential election.

On the judicial front, Bush made two Supreme Court appointments during his years in the White House, David Souter in 1990 and Clarence Thomas in 1991.

From George H.W. Bush, “I learned a lot about character, about life, about what to strive for,” said Karl Rove on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News on Saturday morning while sharing a personal tribute.

George W. Bush continued, “He is not a man to hold grudges. Yet when asked about Perot in a documentary aired in 2012, Dad said, ‘I think he cost me the election and I don’t like him.'”

“When I think of him, I am reminded of Jimmy Stewart’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,'” said Reagan biographer Craig Shirley in a statement shared with LifeZette. “Every step of his life was well lived, was a new adventure, was a new challenge. He never shirked or turned down a difficult assignment but met them all, faced them all and made the most of them, always with grace and courage. George Herbert Walker Bush was a hero for our time and for all time.”

Writing in his book, “41: A Portrait of My Father,” former President George W. Bush said about his father’s loss to Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential campaign, “As always, Dad was gracious. He called Clinton shortly after the polls closed … conceded defeat, and gave a warm speech thanking his supporters and congratulating the president-elect. When the tally was complete, Bill Clinton won 43 percent of the vote. Dad took almost 38 percent, while Ross Perot claimed 19 percent. In all, nearly 20 million people had voted for Perot.”

“There is no way to know how those 20 million people would have voted in a two-man ace. I believed then, and I still believe today, that if Ross Perot had not been on the ballot, George Bush would have won the 1992 election. I know that Dad felt the same way.”

He continued, “He is not a man to hold grudges. Yet when asked about Perot in a documentary aired in 2012, Dad said, ‘I think he cost me the election and I don’t like him.'”

President Bush 41 wrote in part to Bill Clinton as the then-new president was about to take office, “There will be very tough times … I’m not a very good one to give advice, but just don’t let the critics discourage you … I wish you well … Your success now is our country’s success.”

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