HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Barbara Bush’s funeral served as a reminder why so many people loved the former first lady.
Presidential historian Jon Meacham eulogized her as “The First Lady of the Greatest Generation.”
Mecham said she had more than a few nicknames. “Known as Barbara, as Bar, as Mom, Mother, as Ganny, as the Silver Fox, and as the enforcer,” he said.
First Lady Melania Trump, the Obamas and the Clintons joined the Bush family for the emotional farewell.
After the Bush’s son, Jeb, a former Florida governor, joked that his mother wouldn’t want him to get weepy during his eulogy, he did choke back tears at one point. “She was beautiful til the day she died,” he said.
Both he and Meacham shared private thoughts during Mrs. Bush’s final days.
Jeb Bush told guests that he recently asked his mom about dying. “Was she ready to go? Was she sad? Without missing a beat, she said Jeb, I believe in Jesus, he’s my savior, I don’t want to leave your dad, but I know I’ll be in a beautiful place.”
Mecham recalled a recent conversation she and their oldest son, former President and Texas Governor George W. Bush had. “Mother and son needled each other to the end. Her final days while the 43rd President was visiting Mrs. Bush asked one of her doctors if she’d like to know why George W. turned out the way he had. She announced I smoked and drank while I was pregnant.”
While Mrs. Bush was the nation’s first lady for four years, and second lady for eight, her other titles proved more important to those who knew her best.
As a mother: “She called her style a benevolent dictatorship,” Jeb Bush said. “But honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.”
As a friend: Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James Baker for former President George Bush said, “She was the gold standard of what it meant to be a friend because she was motivated by the desire to show God’s love to each and everyone of his children that she met.”
And loving wife of 73 years.
Her son read a love letter his dad had written. “Will you marry me? Oops, I forgot we did that 49 years ago. I was very happy on that day in 1945, but I’m even happier today. You have given me joy that few men know.”
As he read that letter, a tear could be seen falling on his father’s face.
The Bush’s marriage has been described as an incredible love affair. That was one part of the former first lady’s legacy.
While there were four former Presidents and four current and former first ladies at the funeral, Mrs. Bush’s friends say she was as comfortable with the powerful, as she was with a stranger she just met on the street.