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Bush Bash: Ex-President Marks 90th Birthday With Skydiving

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Former President George H.W. Bush  (credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Former President George H.W. Bush (credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - Former President George H.W. Bush is celebrating his 90th birthday just like many of his others — by skydiving.

The jump will take place near his family’s seaside retreat in Maine, where’s spent his summers since he was a boy.

It will be the 8th parachute jump for the 41st President, who marked his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays by skydiving.

Bush will jump tandem from a helicopter with Mike Elliot, a former US Army Golden Knight.

A guest list for a private dinner in his honor Thursday evening includes more than 200 relatives and friends, including some from his White House days, a family spokesman said.

Many of the guests are from his days in the White House, including former press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, White House counsel Boyden Gray and political director Ron Kaufman, said spokesman Jim McGrath. His children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will be there, McGrath said.

During his presidential years, Bush was known for jogging, tennis and fast-paced golf but now uses a wheelchair because of a form of Parkinsonism that has robbed him of use of his legs.

“He’s lost his mobility, but he hasn’t lost his heart. He’s still the genuine person that we’ve come to cherish,” said Ken Raynor, a friend and pro at the Cape Arundel Golf Club.

The 41st president lives in Houston but has spent every summer at the three-story, stone-and-shingle home in Maine except when he was a naval aviator during World War II.

While his activities are now limited, Bush still enjoys taking out his boat, Fidelity.

“He’s always loved going fast. He loves the speed. He loves the adrenaline,” McGrath said.

Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian who is writing a book about Bush, said the former president is used to being in motion, so it isn’t easy for him to slow down.

The president feels lucky nonetheless, Meacham said.

“He had a remarkable great run of good health and good family and good friends,” he said. “So I know his chief view of life at 90 is one of immense gratitude. He’s very grateful for his parents, he’s grateful for Barbara, he’s grateful for his kids. He knows he’s one of the luckiest guys who ever lived, really.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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