Former First Lady Barbara Bush was remembered as the outspoken figurehead of one of the country's greatest political families at a Saturday funeral at Saint Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.
As the wife and mother of two U.S. presidents and two former governors, Mrs. Bush sat at the head of a political dynasty that has defined both Texas and American politics for decades before her death on Tuesday at the age of 92. Political royalty from Texas and the United States, along with about 1,500 invited guests, gathered for the service — a congregation that included former U.S. presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and George Bush and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Fittingly, Texas and U.S. flags lead the way as as Mrs. Bush’s casket was carried into the church prior to the start of the 90-minute service.
Her eulogies were delivered by three speakers, including her second son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who said his mother filled the family’s life with “laughter and joy” and was their “first and most important teacher.”
Susan Baker, a longtime friend of Mrs. Bush and the wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and Jon Meacham, a presidential historian who published a biography of the first President Bush in 2015, also spoke.
Meacham served the role of historian for the funeral, speaking of Mrs. Bush’s work in public service, her 73-year marriage and his own friendship with the former first lady.
“She was strength herself, and with her tongue sometimes sharp, she was as honest with herself as she was with the rest of us,” Meacham said.
Former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, as well as current First Lady Melania Trump, were present for the funeral. President Donald Trump did not attend the funeral to “avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service,” according to a White House statement.
The 1953 death of Mrs. Bush’s daughter, Robin, was mentioned during the service as a marker in Mrs. Bush’s life; Baker cited it as a source of her compassion during her life.
“Barbara’s motivation to help others was never about herself, but about giving love and support to those in need,” Baker said.
Mrs. Bush was to be privately buried next Robin Saturday afternoon on the grounds of George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station.