Houston (AFP) – Past presidents, family and friends came together Saturday to bid farewell to Barbara Bush, the matriarch of one of America’s most prominent political dynasties, at a funeral service in Texas.
Bush — wife to the 41st US president and mother to the 43rd — died Tuesday at her home in Texas aged 92, surrounded by her family.
The invitation-only service at St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston was attended by four former presidents: George H.W. Bush — Barbara’s husband of 73 years — their son George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as other former senior officials.
First Lady Melania Trump attended but her husband President Donald Trump did not, with the White House saying his decision to stay in Washington was taken “to avoid disruptions due to added security.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family,” Trump wrote on Twitter, saying he planned to watch the funeral ceremony.
Known for her trademark faux pearls and tart-tongued comments about life in and out of Washington — but also her deep loyalty to family and self-deprecating humor — Barbara Bush was in many ways a figure more popular among ordinary Americans than her high-flying husband and sons.
Having undergone heart surgery in 2009, she was treated for years for Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition. As her health failed in recent days, she was moved into comfort care at her home in Houston.
Barbara Bush is survived by five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She lost a sixth child — daughter Robin — to leukemia as a toddler.