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‘Giant of a man’: George H.W. Bush’s grieving family celebrates a ‘remarkable’ life

A Bush family portrait from 1992. (Reuters File Photo/Reuters)
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The family of former president George H.W. Bush took to social media to mourn and celebrate the life of the World War II veteran, who died Friday at 94.

Bush served as the nation’s 41st president, between 1989 and 1993. His family spoke of a man who was as committed to public service as he was devoted to his family. Bush is survived by 2 siblings, 5 children, 17 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

In a statement released late Friday night, former president George W. Bush, the nation’s 43rd, remembered his father as a “man of the highest character."

“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.”
— George W. Bush

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

Bush’s granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, wrote on Instagram: “Waking up missing this giant of a man who gave me everything. He taught me and my family about service, family, decency, the power of gentle words and a beautiful heart. I will miss him desperately but so happy he and my Grandmother are back together.”

Hager also posted the following political cartoon, which depicts Bush in heaven with Robin, his 3-year-old daughter who died of leukemia, as well as Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, who died in April:

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This brought me such comfort this morning. I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: ​He answered without any hesitation. “Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.” And I started crying. I managed to choke out, “Well, why? What do you look forward to?” And he said, “Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.” And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom. I haven’t yet figured it out if it will be Robin as the three year old that she was, this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she’ll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman. And then he said, “I hope she’s the three-year-old.” Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”

A post shared by jennabhager (@jennabhager) on

Jeb Bush Jr. wrote, “Nothing gave my Gampy more joy than service to others, especially supporting and caring for those who risk making the ultimate sacrifice everyday. His leadership taught us to be kinder and gentler, to love each other. We will miss him dearly.”

George P. Bush, Bush’s grandson, posted several tweets paying tribute to his grandfather, calling him the “greatest man I ever knew.” He added, “His life spanned the American Century — he fought in World War II . . . took part in the Texas oil boom . . . served out a distinguished career in public service including serving as president during the final days of the Cold War.”

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