4 Εx-Presidents among Hundreds at Barbara Bush’s Funeral (Video)

Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

HOUSTON (AP) — Four former presidents joined ambassadors, sports stars and hundreds of other mourners on a gray, rainy day Saturday at the private funeral for Barbara Bush, filling the nation’s largest Episcopal church a day after more than 6,000 people paid their respects to the woman known by many as “America’s matriarch.”

President George H.W. Bush was helped into the cavernous sanctuary with a wheelchair behind his sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and other Bush relatives to remember his wife of 73 years who died at their home Tuesday at age 92.

Also seated near the front of the church, in the same pew, were two other former presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump.

The funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush takes place at St. Martin's Episcopal Church. https://fxn.ws/2HOYs7E

Posted by Fox News on Saturday, April 21, 2018

Flags were flown at half-mast for the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd as the service began at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, as the choir sang “My Country Tis of Thee.” The church is adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons, antique hydrangeas and other flowers.

Among the other roughly 1,500 guests were former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and professional golfer Phil Mickelson, along with Karl Rove, and other former White House staff. Many were seen embracing in the church before the service.

President Donald Trump isn’t attending to avoid security disruptions and “out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service,” according to the White House. He released a statement Saturday saying his “thoughts and prayers” are “with the entire Bush family.”

Barbara Bush Funeral Underway in Texas

FINAL GOODBYE: The funeral for Barbara Bush, who served as America's First Lady for 4 years, is talking place now in Texas. https://on.wltx.com/2qNM2p8

Posted by WLTX News19 on Saturday, April 21, 2018

A burial will follow at the Bush Library at Texas A&M University, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Houston. The burial site is in a gated plot surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953, is buried.

The family has said Barbara Bush had selected son Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, to deliver a eulogy along with her longtime friend Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography of her husband.

Grandson pallbearers prepare the casket of former first lady Barbara Bush during the funeral service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

The funeral program shows that her grandchildren will also play prominent roles: her granddaughters will offer readings during the service and her grandsons will serve pallbearers.

On Friday, a total of 6,231 people stopped by the church to pay their respects. Many of the women wore the former first lady’s favorite color, blue, and trademark pearls.

After seeing how many people had lined up to pay their respects to his wife, former President George H.W. Bush decided to attend — he sat at the front of the church in a wheelchair, offering his hand and smiled as people shook it, for about 15 minutes.

Barbara and George Bush were married longer than any other presidential couple when she died Tuesday at their home in Houston. She was 92.

One of just two first ladies to have a child elected president, Barbara Bush was widely admired for her plainspoken style and her advocacy for causes including literacy and AIDS awareness.

Barbara Bush was known as the “Enforcer” in her family, the glue who kept the high-powered clan together. Eight of her grandsons will serve as pallbearers.


By JUAN A. LOZANO , Associated Press

Former Presidents George W. Bush, left, and George H.W. Bush arrive at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )
Accompanied by his wife, Hillary Clinton,left, former President Bill Clinton arrives at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama greet first lady Melania Trump at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )
Attendees arrive at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip , Pool)
Former President George H. W. Bush greets the mourners with his daughter Dorothy “Doro” Bush Koch during the visitation for former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston. Barbara Bush died on April 17, at the age of 92. (Mark Burns/Offce of George H.W. Bush/Pool via AP)
Dorothy Hanson holds the program as she leaves the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston. Barbara Bush died on April 17, at the age of 92. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )
Mourners attend during a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )