Former President George H.W. Bush Dies at 94
The World War II naval aviator, Texas oil pioneer, and 41st President of the United States of America died on November 30, 2018
Published 3 hours ago | Updated 4 minutes ago
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Herbert Walker Bush, who as the 41st president guided the United States
out of the Cold War and led an international coalition into the Gulf
War, has died. He was 94.
Bush passed at 10:10 p.m. Friday, according to a statement from family spokesman Jim McGrath.
Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94
remarkable years, our dear Dad has died," said former President George
W. Bush in a statement. "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."
He was quickly remembered as a humble patriot, dedicated public servant and beloved family man by President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama and others.
his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to
faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his
fellow Americans to public service—to be, in his words, 'a thousand
points of light' illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of
America to the world," Trump and first lady Melania Trump said in a
Bush was a World War
II naval pilot who survived being shot down over the Pacific, led the
CIA and spent eight years as vice president before taking the Oval
Office. He was the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.
His wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, who used her time as first lady to advocate for literacy, died on April 17.
H.W. Bush became the first former U.S. president to turn 94 on June 12.
The nation's 41st president was receiving calls and taking it easy at
his seaside home in Maine eight days after being released from a
hospital where he was treated for low blood pressure, said Chief of
Staff Jean Becker.
Bush's office shared a letter from the president in which he said, "My heart is full on the first day of my 95th year."
many of you know, for years I have said the three most important things
in life are faith, family and friends. My faith has never been
stronger," the former president wrote in the letter.
of his children were in town, including former President George W.
Bush, who posted a smiling photo of the two of them on Instagram.
"I'm a lucky man to be named for George Bush and to be with `41' on his 94th birthday," wrote Bush, the nation's 43rd president.
Another son, Neil Bush, called on people in a newspaper opinion piece to volunteer and "to become a point of light."
a Republican who served as President Ronald Reagan's vice president for
two terms, was elected to the country's highest office in 1988. He beat
Democrat Michael Dukakis in an electoral landslide and with 54 percent
of the popular vote.
inaugural presidential address, Bush spoke of "a thousand points of
light" across the country, community organizations that were doing good
and with which he promised to work. He pledged in "a moment rich with
promise" to use American strength as "a force for good."
member of a longtime politically influential American family, Bush led
the United States during a time of intense international change,
including the fall of Communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe, and turmoil in the Middle East. His public approval rating
soared to 89 percent after he presided over a U.S.-led coalition of 32
countries that drove Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army from Kuwait in 1991.
After signing a strategic arms reduction agreement to reduce nuclear
weapons with the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev, Bush accomplished a
second agreement in early January 1993 with Russian President Boris
Yeltsin after the USSR collapsed.
as president, with the most fascinating possible vantage point, there
were times when I was so busy managing progress and helping to lead
change that I didn't always show the joy that was in my heart," Bush
said in his final State of the Union address. "But the biggest thing
that has happened in the world in my life, in our lives, is this: By the
grace of God, America won the Cold War."
his strength in foreign policy, Bush was ultimately limited to a single
term as president over a sputtering U.S. economy. The unemployment
rate, at 5.3 percent during his first year in office, rose to 7.4
percent in 1992. Confronted with rising deficits, Bush famously signed a
bill that raised taxes despite the Republican's earlier campaign vow:
"Read my lips: no new taxes." His public approval, once sky high,
plummeted in his final year in office to below 50 percent.
he lost re-election to Bill Clinton in 1992, his work laid a foundation
for his son George W. Bush to win the White House in 2000.
presidents in one family, that's pretty good," George H.W. Bush told
his granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager for a "Today" interview on his 88th
Another son, former
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, lost a bid for the Republican nomination in 2016
to Trump. Bush even saw his grandson, George P. Bush, enter politics.
The Fort Worth resident won the position of Texas land commissioner in
Bush was born June
12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, the youngest of five children. He
was raised in Connecticut by his mother Dorothy Walker Bush, and his
father, Prescott Bush, who served as a U.S. senator.
the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bush enlisted in the military on his 18th
birthday and became the Navy's youngest pilot at the time. He flew 58
combat missions in World War II before being shot down by the Japanese
in 1944. Bush was rescued by a submarine and awarded the Distinguished
Flying Cross for bravery in action.
home, Bush married Barbara Pierce on Jan. 6, 1945, and the couple went
on to have six children; George, Pauline (who was known as Robin and who
died as a child of leukemia), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin and
Bush was accepted to
Yale University before enlistment, and once stateside, enrolled in an
accelerated program that allowed him to graduate in two and a half years
instead of four. While at Yale, the left-handed first baseman played in
the first College World Series.
1948, Bush graduated from the university with a bachelor of arts degree
in economics. He moved the family to west Texas and achieved success in
the oil industry, but like his father, he was drawn to politics.
an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1964, Bush won a House seat
in 1966 representing Houston. He was re-elected in 1968 but gave up his
seat two years later to run for the Senate again, and lost to Democrat
Bush was appointed
to a string of government positions in the 1970s, including: United
Nations ambassador, Republican National Committee chairman, envoy to
China, and CIA director. At the CIA he was credited with boosting
1980, Bush made a run for the White House, but the Republican Party
nominated Reagan, who selected Bush as his running mate. The match was a
good one. The pair went to Washington in 1981 and won a landslide
re-election victory four years later.
vice-president, Bush traveled the world, pushing his anti-drug programs
and became the first vice president to stand in as president while
Reagan underwent surgery in 1985. Bush spent most of the eight hours on
the tennis court.
Then, after eight years of loyalty, Bush tried again for the Oval Office.
chose Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle as his running mate. At the Republican
National Convention in New Orleans, Bush made the "no new taxes" pledge
that would spark a backlash among some Republicans when he later
In 1988, Bush
defeated Michael Dukakis and his running mate, Texas nemesis Lloyd
Bentsen. He was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 1989.
high popularity in the wake of a decision to send American troops into
Panama to bring General Manuel Noriega to face drug charges in the U.S,
and later the Persian Gulf War, would prove ephemeral.
Bush described his defeat in his re-election bid as having given him a "terrible feeling, awful feeling."
really wanted to win and worked hard. And later on people said, 'well
he didn’t really care', which is crazy," he told his granddaughter Jenna
Bush Hager on "Today." "I worked my heart out and it was terrible to
adjust. Well then you figure life goes on."
leaving office, Bush returned to private life by splitting his time
between Kennebunkport, Maine, and Houston. It was not uncommon to see
Bush 41 at a Houston Astros baseball game.
2005, he teamed up with his former rival, Bill Clinton, to raise money
for relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami.
son George W. Bush published "41: A Portrait of My Father," in 2014, a
wide-ranging and intimate biography of his father. In an interview on
"Today" with his son and his granddaughter Bush Hager, the elder Bush
talked about the intersection of family memories and key political
events in their lives.
Asked about his presidential legacy, Bush said that he'd banned use of "the legacy word."
think history will get it right, and point out the things I did wrong,
and perhaps some of the things we did right," he said.
recent years, Bush was hospitalized because of various ailments. He
broke a bone in his neck when he fell in his home in Kennebunkport,
Maine, and suffered from shortness of breath and a bronchitis-related
cough and other issues in Houston.
Bush also made headlines in recent years for skydiving on
at least three of his birthdays, according to The Associated Press, the
last on his 90th, when he made a tandem parachute jump in
Kennebunkport, Maine. In the summer of 2016, Bush led a group of 40
wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three
days after his 92nd birthday celebration.
And he made headlines in July 2013 when he shaved his head in
support of a little boy — the son of a member of his Secret Service
detail — battling leukemia. Later that summer, he was honored at a White
House event celebrating volunteerism.
put his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College
Station and his name now is on the CIA headquarters, Houston's largest
airport and a North Texas tollroad.
There is also an aircraft carrier that bears his name. In 2009, Bush 41 and Bush 43 attended the commissioning of the USS George H.W. Bush, the 10th and last Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy.
had the distinction of being one of only three U.S. presidents to
receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. He was awarded
the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Barack
Obama in 2011.
Bush is survived by his five children, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He told Bush Hager that he was happiest while spending time with his family at sea.
"Aging is all right," he said in June 2012. "It's better than the alternative, which is not being here."
is survived by his five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren,
eight great grandchildren, and two siblings. He was preceded in death by
his wife of 73 years, Barbara; his second child Pauline Robinson
“Robin” Bush; and his brothers Prescott and William or “Bucky” Bush.