Presidents to join Bush family at Barbara's funeral

- Barbara Bush’s funeral will be a family affair, at least as much as it can be for the wife of one president and mother of another. Several former presidents will be joining the Bush family for Saturday’s private service in Houston, which will be followed by a burial on the grounds of her husband’s library. 

The former first lady passed away Tuesday at the age of 92. George H.W. Bush – her husband of 73 years – was at his wife's side when she died and had reportedly been holding her hand all day. 

SERVICE AT FAMILY CHURCH

The Bush matriarch’s funeral will be held Saturday at the Houston church where she and her family have worshipped since the early 1950s.  St. Martin’s Episcopal now bills itself as the largest Episcopal church in the United States, but the Bushes have been parishioners there since it only had a few hundred members.  Both George and Barbara taught in the church’s Sunday school.

The church is hosting a public viewing Friday, while the funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday will be by invitation only.  Presidents Clinton and Obama – and their wives – are expected to join the extended Bush family, with first lady Melania Trump attending on behalf of her husband.

Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who are unable to attend, called Mrs. Bush the "matriarch of a family dedicated to serving."

Following the service at the church, Mrs. Bush will be taken to the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M in College Station.  The motorcade will pass through Houston’s Memorial Park so the public can pay respects.

FAMILY BURIAL SITE

A private burial service will take place on the grounds of the presidential library. The Bushes’ daughter Pauline Robinson, known to the family as Robin, is already buried at the site.

When Robin was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3, doctors advised the family to make her comfortable ahead of her imminent death.  But the Bushes refused to accept that there was no hope, and they stayed by her side for seven months of treatment.  She passed away in 1953, not long before her fourth birthday.


This display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum remembers Robin.

Late in her life, Barbara Bush said that Robin’s death was still a fresh tragedy to her.  It “tested” her marriage but ultimately made it stronger, she said, and it also helped foster a strong bond between her and George W., who was 7 at the time.

PUBLIC SAYS GOODBYE

The George Bush Presidential Library has set up a condolence book in the rotunda, alongside several displays of photos and mementos.  Members of the public have been streaming through to sign the book and pay their respects to the family.

In lieu of flowers, the Bush family has suggested that donations be made to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which works to boost literacy among parents and children.

LINK: www.barbarabushlegacy.org

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