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The Five Most Heartwarming Moments Of Barbara Bush's Funeral

"The first lady of the greatest generation."

Posted on April 21, 2018, at 4:48 p.m. ET

More than 1,000 mourners gathered in Texas on Saturday to bid farewell to Barbara Bush, the former first lady and the matriarch of the Bush political dynasty.Bush died Tuesday, aged 92. She was only the second woman in US history, after Abigail Adams, to be the mother and wife of US presidents. Here are the most heartwarming moments from Saturday’s ceremony at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.
Richard Carson / Reuters

More than 1,000 mourners gathered in Texas on Saturday to bid farewell to Barbara Bush, the former first lady and the matriarch of the Bush political dynasty.

Bush died Tuesday, aged 92. She was only the second woman in US history, after Abigail Adams, to be the mother and wife of US presidents.

Here are the most heartwarming moments from Saturday’s ceremony at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.

1. Mourners shared tales from the 73-year marriage of Barbara and George

George and Barbara met when she was just 16, and he 17."He was the only boy she ever kissed," said Jon Meacham, a historian and presidential biographer, who spoke at the funeral. Son Jeb Bush said he had a "front row seat to the most amazing love story." He recalled a recent story of his mother ill in hospital and his father needing to be admitted the next day."I think dad got sick on purpose so he could be with her," said Jeb. He said his ill father sat holding his mother's hand while she slept, with his hair messy and wearing a breathing mask ("he looked like hell"). When Barbara woke up, she looked at her husband and declared, "My god, George, you are devastatingly handsome."
Mike Stone / Reuters

George and Barbara met when she was just 16, and he 17.

"He was the only boy she ever kissed," said Jon Meacham, a historian and presidential biographer, who spoke at the funeral.

Son Jeb Bush said he had a "front row seat to the most amazing love story."

He recalled a recent story of his mother ill in hospital and his father needing to be admitted the next day.

"I think dad got sick on purpose so he could be with her," said Jeb.

He said his ill father sat holding his mother's hand while she slept, with his hair messy and wearing a breathing mask ("he looked like hell"). When Barbara woke up, she looked at her husband and declared, "My god, George, you are devastatingly handsome."

2. Husband George H.W. Bush wore socks covered in images of hardcover books

The socks worn by the 41st President of the United States of America at today’s funeral for former First Lady Barbara Bush. https://t.co/12libHt1Jv

Barbara Bush long pushed a love for reading, public libraries, and literacy, and founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

“She believed literacy a fundamental, civil, and human right and gave the cause her all,” said Meacham.

3. Son Jeb started crying when he said his mother “was beautiful til the day she died”

"She was our teacher and role model of how to live a life of purpose and meaning," said her son, the former governor of Florida.George H.W. Bush could be seen breaking down in tears during Jeb's eulogy when he read aloud one of the couple's love letters.Those weren't the only tears shed during the emotional service. Granddaughter Barbara Bush was teary-eyed when she delivered a reading, and her twin sister, Jenna Hager, was also fighting back tears as she delivered a reading alongside four other Bush granddaughters.Meacham called Bush “the first lady of the greatest generation.”
Pool / Getty Images

"She was our teacher and role model of how to live a life of purpose and meaning," said her son, the former governor of Florida.

George H.W. Bush could be seen breaking down in tears during Jeb's eulogy when he read aloud one of the couple's love letters.

Those weren't the only tears shed during the emotional service. Granddaughter Barbara Bush was teary-eyed when she delivered a reading, and her twin sister, Jenna Hager, was also fighting back tears as she delivered a reading alongside four other Bush granddaughters.

Meacham called Bush “the first lady of the greatest generation.”

4. Four former presidents were in attendance

In addition to both Bush presidents, of course, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also attended — along with former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Current first lady Melania Trump attended and sat next to Barack Obama.
Pool / Getty Images

In addition to both Bush presidents, of course, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also attended — along with former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Current first lady Melania Trump attended and sat next to Barack Obama.

5. Many joked about Bush's cutting sense of humor

Meacham recalled a story of when he was once mistaken for author John Grisham. When he recounted the story to the Bush family, Barbara quipped, "Well, how do you think poor Grisham would feel? He’s a very handsome man.”Jeb Bush joked that his mother would be looking down at him and would say "don't get weepy" during his eulogy. He spoke about how tough she was as a parent. “She called it a benevolent dictatorship, but honestly it wasn’t always benevolent,” he said. "No safe spaces or microaggressions allowed with Barbara Pierce Bush.”But her friend Susan Baker noted that her humor even extended to poking fun at herself. She recalled that a pen pal of the former first lady once kept a show heifer that she had named after Barbara. When the cow placed eighth in competition, Baker recalled that Barbara said "I was sorry for my little friend, but not sure I could have stood the headlines: 'Barbara Bush wins the fat stock show.'”
Donna Carson / Reuters

Meacham recalled a story of when he was once mistaken for author John Grisham. When he recounted the story to the Bush family, Barbara quipped, "Well, how do you think poor Grisham would feel? He’s a very handsome man.”

Jeb Bush joked that his mother would be looking down at him and would say "don't get weepy" during his eulogy.

He spoke about how tough she was as a parent. “She called it a benevolent dictatorship, but honestly it wasn’t always benevolent,” he said. "No safe spaces or microaggressions allowed with Barbara Pierce Bush.”

But her friend Susan Baker noted that her humor even extended to poking fun at herself.

She recalled that a pen pal of the former first lady once kept a show heifer that she had named after Barbara. When the cow placed eighth in competition, Baker recalled that Barbara said "I was sorry for my little friend, but not sure I could have stood the headlines: 'Barbara Bush wins the fat stock show.'”

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