Presidents: George H. W. Bush

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George H.W. Bush is the last Vice President to succeed to the presidency. He is the oldest living president and Vice President. He is also one of two father-son pairs to

George H. W. Bush

be president. For this reason he is often known as Bush 41 or distinguished as elder or senior.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. He was the son of Prescott and Dorothy Walker Bush. Growing up, his nickname was “Poppy”.

In school he held a number of leadership positions including president of the senior class, secretary of the student council, president of the community fund-raising group, a member of the editorial board of the school newspaper, and captain of both the varsity baseball and soccer teams.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bush joined the U.S. Navy. After graduating high school in 1942, he became a naval aviator three days before his 19th birthday. This made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.

He flew in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, one of the most victorious air battles during World War II, and was later promoted to Lieutenant.

George H. W. Bush

In late summer 1944, he piloted an avenger aircraft and the plane caught on fire in the middle of the mission, but Bush completed the mission before bailing from the aircraft.

He then began training as a torpedo pilot.

On January 6, 1945, he married Barbara Pierce. The couple would have six children together.

At the end of the war in 1945, he was honorably discharged.

After the war, he attended Yale University and completed in two and a half years. He was president of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, played on the baseball team, was a member of the Yale cheer leading squad and played in the first two College World Series. He even got to meet Babe Ruth.

George H. W. Bush

After graduating from Yale, the Bush family moved to West Texas. He began to venture in the oil business and in 1954 was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company.

In 1964, he became Chairman of the Republican Party for Harris County, Texas. In 1966, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Bush was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where he voted to abolish the military draft. After serving a second term, he was defeated in a run for the U.S. Senate.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon appointed him Ambassador to the United Nations.

In 1973, President Nixon asked him to become chairman of the Republican National Committee. George Bush asked Richard Nixon to resign for the good of the Republican party, which he did on August 9, 1974. Bush noted in his diary that “There was an aura of sadness, like somebody died” when Nixon resigned. He said President Gerald Ford offered “a new spirit, a new lift.”

George H. W. Bush

Gerald Ford seriously considered Bush for the nomination as his Vice President, but eventually went with Nelson Rockefeller.

Gerald Ford appointed Bush in 1974 to be Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China. The 14 months that he spent in China were largely seen as beneficial for U.S.-China relations.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence, a position he held for almost a year.

After Jimmy Carter became president, Bush became chairman on the Executive Committee of the First International Bank in Houston, taught briefly and served as director of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Bush decided to run for president in 1980. He lost most of the primaries and was eventually named as Ronald Reagan‘s running mate on the Republican ticket.

On January 20, 1981 he was sworn in as Vice President and moved into the Vice President’s residence at Number One Observatory Circle, about two miles from the White House.

George H. W. Bush

When President Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981, Bush was in Texas and immediately flew back to Washington. His conduct in the crisis impressed President Reagan.

After President Reagan recovered, Bush had regular Thursday lunches with the president in the Oval Office.

Bush became the first Vice President to serve as Acting President when, on July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon, making Bush acting president for approximately eight hours.

Bush decided after two terms as Vice President to run for president and selected Dan Quale as his running mate. Bush made the point in his campaign to say “Read my lips, no new taxes.”

George H. W. Bush

He was sworn in as president on January 20, 1989. He entered office at a period of change in the world; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Union came early in his presidency. He ordered military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf. He began with high approval ratings.

He often used the “thousand points of light” theme to describe the power of citizens to solve community problems. In 1990, the Points of Light Foundation was created as a nonprofit organization in Washington to promote this spirit of volunteerism.President Bush created the Daily Point of Light Award in 1989 to recognize ordinary Americans from all walks of life taking direct and consequential voluntary action in their communities to solve serious social problems. The President focused great attention on these individuals and organizations, both to honor them for their tremendous work and to call the nation to join them and multiply their efforts.

In 1990 Time magazine named him the Man of the Year. In 1991 the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation awarded Bush its Lone Sailor award for his naval service and his subsequent government service. In 1993, he was made an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II.

George H. W. Bush

In 1992, he began to campaign for re-election, but had recently raised taxes, which angered many, given his original campaign promises. Bush lost the election to Bill Clinton.

Upon leaving office, Bush and his wife, Barbara, returned to Texas. They spend the summer at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Maine.

On January 10, 1999, the Bushes became the longest-married Presidential couple in history, outlasting John and Abigail Adams, who were married for 54 years and 3 days.

As of 2017, the Bush’s have been married for 72 years.

The George Bush Presidential Library was dedicated on November 6, 1997 and is located on the west campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The school also has the The Bush School of Government and Public Service.

In 1997, the same year as the opening of his Presidential Library, the Houston international airport was renamed George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

President Bush is Honorary Chairman of Points of Light, an international nonprofit dedicated to engaging more people and resources in solving serious social problems through voluntary service.

George H. W. Bush

In 2001, his oldest son, George W. Bush, was sworn in as president. They became the first father-son pair to be president since John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams.

George H.W. Bush and his wife,Barbara, have continued to be active and make appearances in the years since leaving the presidency. The Bush’s appear at dedications, funerals, inaugurations and other state events.

On February 15, 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Since 2012, he has used a motorized wheelchair to due the form of Parkinson’s disease he has.

On July 15, 2013, President Barack Obama welcomed President Bush to the White House to celebrate the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award.

George H. W. Bush

On June 12, 2014, Bush fulfilled a long-standing promise by skydiving on his 90th birthday.The jump marked the eighth time the former president had skydived, including jumps on his 80th and 85th birthday as well.

On February 5, 2017, George and Barbara Bush participated in the coin toss for Super Bowl LI. This was after a bout of ill health in which the couple had been hospitalized and missed the inauguration of Donald Trump.

George H.W. Bush is currently the oldest living former president.  He is 111 days older than Jimmy Carter.






41st President of the United States
(January 20, 1989 to January 20, 1993)Nickname: “Poppy”

Born: June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts

Father: Prescott Sheldon Bush
Mother: Dorothy Walker Bush
Married: Barbara Pierce (1925- ), on January 6, 1945
Children:  George Walker Bush (1946- ); Robin Bush (1949-53); John Ellis “Jeb” Bush (1953- ); Neil Bush (1955- ); Marvin Bush (1956- ); Dorothy Bush (1959- )

Religion: Episcopalian
Education: Graduated from Yale University (1948)
Occupation: Businessman, public official
Political Party: Republican

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1967-71
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 1971-72
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1976-77
  • Vice President, 1981-89

Presidential Salary: $200,000/year + $50,000 expense account

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska
The First Gulf War (1990-1991)
The End of the Cold War


1924 George H. W. Bush was born on June 12 in Milton, Massachusetts

1929 Herbert Clark Hoover becomes the 31st U.S. President U.S. stock market crash

1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes the 32nd U.S. President The 20th amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified 1934 The Gold Reserve Act adopted The Securities and Exchange Commission is created

1935 The Social Security Act is adopted

1939 World War II begins

1941 The Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor The United States Declares war with Japan, officially entering World War II

1942 June 12, Bush graduates from the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and enlists in the United States Navy

1944 September 2, Bush is shot down over the Pacific Ocean, surviving the crash and rescued by the Submarine USS Finback

1945 Bush marries Barbara Pierce on January 6, in Rye, New York April 12, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies and Vice President Harry S. Truman assumes the Presidency November 1, Bush attends Yale University graduating with a B.A. in Economics

1946 July 6, Son George Walker Bush is born in New Haven Connecticut

1949 Daughter Pauline Robinson is born on December 20 in Compton, California 1950 The Bush family moves to Midland, Texas

1953 Dwight David Eisenhower becomes the 34th U.S. President Son John Ellis “Jeb” Bush is born on February 11 in Midland, Texas Daughter Robin dies of leukemia on October 12, 1953 at the young age of four

1955 Son Niel Mallon is born on January 22 in Midland, Texas

1956 Son Marvin Pierce is born on October 22 in Midland, Texas The Bush family moves to Houston, Texas

1959 Daughter Dorothy Walker is born on August 18 in Houston, Texas

1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes the 35th U.S. President

1963 November 22, John F. Kennedy is assassinated while campaigning for re-election in Dallas, Texas Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson assumes the Presidency upon the death of President Kennedy

1966 November 8, Bush is elected to the United States House of Representatives

1968 November 5, Bush is re-elected to the House of Representatives 1969 Richard Milhous Nixon becomes the 37th U.S. President

1970 Bush runs for the U.S. Senate unsuccessfully, losing to Democrat Lloyd Benson

1971 February 26, Bush becomes the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

1974 In order to avoid impending Presidential Impeachment, Richard Nixon becomes the first President in American History to resign from the Presidency

1976 Bush becomes the director of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA)

1979 Bush runs for the Presidential Republican nomination unsuccessfully. Losing the Republican nomination to California Governor Ronald Reagan.

1980 Bush is nominated by Ronald Reagan as his Vice Presidential running mate

1981 Ronald Reagan becomes the 40th U.S. President beating Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter by a landslide March 30, Ronald Reagan survives a Presidential assassination attempt on his life, shot outside a D.C. Hotel.

1989 George H. W. Bush becomes the 41st U.S. President

1990 November 15, Bush signs in to law the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

1991 Bush orders Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait from the Iraq invasion by Sudan Hussein. July 1, Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Thurgood Marshall’s seat

1992 Bush lost his re-election bid to Demoractic Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas and third party candidate Ross Perot November 19, Bush’s mother Dorothy Walker Bush dies

1993 Bush attends the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton as the 42nd U.S. President

1996 Bill Clinton wins re-election to a second term, defeating Republican Senator Bob Dole

1997 The George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas opens

1998 President Bill Clinton is Impeached by the United States House of Representatives on December 19, for Perjury and Obstruction of Justice

1999 Bush publishes his book “All the Best, George Bush”.

2000 George W. Bush is victorious over Vice President Al Gore and becomes the 43rd U.S. President

2001 Bush attends the Presidential Inauguration of son George W. Bush on January 20

2004 President George W. Bush wins re-election defeating Democrat Senator John Kerry Bush turns 80 and celebrate by tandem-skydiving at his Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

2005 Bush is asked by President George W. Bush to join former President Bill Clinton to lead a nationwide fundraising effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

2013 April 25, Bush attends the George W. Bush Presidential Library dedication ceremony with First Lady Barbara Bush.


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