President George H.W. Bush lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Monday. (Morry Gash/Pool/Reuters)

One interesting footnote to the remarkable life of former president George H.W. Bush is how long he was involved in American life, even after he left office.

Part of this was a function of his long life. When he died last week, he was 94, older than any other president had ever been. His defeat in the 1992 presidential election at only 68 meant that he spent decades in post-presidential life.

In fact, he enjoyed the fourth-longest post-presidential period in U.S. history.


(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)

Two of the only longer post-presidencies were those of Gerald Ford (who lost at age 63) and Herbert Hoover (who lost at 58). Bush narrowly edged out John Adams, who lived for 9,253 days after losing the 1800 election. (He died the same day as Thomas Jefferson, the man who defeated him.)

But then there’s the longest-lasting post-presidency, one that’s gotten several days longer since Bush’s death. That’s Jimmy Carter’s record, a combination of his own longevity — he’ll become the president who lived the longest life in the middle of next March — and the early age at which he was defeated, 52.

Carter’s record may be surpassed by one of the other living presidents. Bill Clinton would pass Carter’s record (as it stands) in 2038 (when he’d be 92). Barack Obama would pass it in 2054 (when he’d be 93). Of course, that record gets further out of reach every day.

George W. Bush could break Carter’s record, too — but he needs to live to be 100. Given his family background and history of longevity, though: Who knows.