Editor's note: This article has been updated to include funeral information.
He was born into privilege in Milton, Mass., but George Herbert Walker Bush became a practical man and dignified politician who helped maneuver America through global conflict and the end of the Cold War. After a life illuminated by four decades of public service and a “points of light’’ personal philosophy, the 41st president died Friday as he had lived, quietly and with dignity surrounded by family and close friends at his home in Houston. He was 94.
No cause of death was released but it was no secret that the elder statesman’s health had been deteriorating, and he reportedly told family members this year that he did not want to return to the hospital. Among other ailments, the former president suffered from a form of Parkinson’s disease.
Patriarch of a powerful Texas political family — eldest son George W. Bush was the 43rd president — the Yale University graduate was married to Barbara Bush for 73 years until her death at 92 last April. On Saturday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called his father “the greatest human being that I ever will know.’’ His brother, former President Bush said their dad, “was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”
Wednesday, the first presidential funeral since Gerald Ford died in 2006 will be held at Washington National Cathedral. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will be among the many distinguished mourners expected to attend the invitation-only service.
Bush will lie in state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol until Wednesday morning. He also will lie in repose late Wednesday and early Thursday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where a second memorial service will be held Thursday morning. He will be interred later Thursday at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Trump has declared Wednesday a National Day of Mourning and tweeted, in part, that Bush “led a long, successful and beautiful life. Whenever I was with him I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family. His accomplishments were great from beginning to end.’’
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said, “President Bush lived a remarkable life of service, civility and patriotism. Everyone at AARP sends our sincerest sympathies to the Bush family.