Here is the life and legacy of former President George H.W. Bush in photos

  • The 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, died on November 30 at the age of 94.
  • His presidency was just one period of his career in the military and politics.
  • Barbara, his wife of 73 years, died just eight months before his death and accompanied him each step of the way.
  • Here’s the life and legacy of George H.W. Bush.

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died at the age of 94.

Bush leaves behind a legacy not just as a president, but as a loving father and husband throughout a political career that spanned decades.

“George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” former President and son George W. Bush said in a statement.

Here’s the life and legacy of George H.W. Bush in photos:


George H.W. Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, in 1924. He was the second child out of five others.

Source: USA Today


He grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

Source: AP


On June 12, 1942, Bush enlisted in the US Navy as a pilot in World War II.

Source: USA Today


He became the nation’s youngest commissioned pilot at the time at 18-years-old.

Source: History


During one of his 58 missions, his plane was shot down by Japanese forces. He remained in the aircraft and successfully hit his target before parachuting out. He was eventually rescued by a US submarine.

Wikimedia CommonsA U.S. submarine, though not the one involved in Bush’s rescue.


Read more about how Bush was rescued here.

Source: History


He served in the Navy until 1945, the same year he married Barbara Pierce.

Source: USA Today


Barbara later told her granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, “I could hardly breathe, I thought he was so beautiful.”

Source: Today


Their marriage, the longest in presidential history, spanned 73 years until Barbara’s death in April 2018.

Mark Reinstein/MediaPunch /IPX

Source: Today


The pair had six children, the first being George W. Bush, who would later become the 43rd president of the United States. Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy followed.

Source: USA Today


Following his military service and marriage to Barbara, Bush studied economics at Yale University and was captain of the school’s baseball team.

Source: History


After graduating, Bush moved to Texas and worked in the oil industry before transitioning to politics in 1964.

Source: Texas Tribune


He eventually won a seat in Congress and became the first Houston Republican to serve in the US House.

Source: Texas Tribune


President Richard Nixon appointed Bush as the US ambassador to the United Nations from 1971 to 1973.

Source: History


Bush then served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1974, the same year that Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal came to light. Bush issued a public request for Nixon to resign, which he did two days later.

Source: History


President Gerald Ford replaced Nixon and appointed Bush as head of the US Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China.

Source: History


He filled that position until 1976, when he became the director of the CIA.

Source: History


Bush resigned from the CIA when Democrat Jimmy Carter became president in 1977.

Source: History


In 1980, Bush ran for the Republican nomination in the presidential election. But he was overtaken by the widely-popular Ronald Reagan, who eventually chose him as his running mate. Bush would serve two terms as vice president under Reagan.

Source: Texas Tribune


He would go on to become the 41st president of the United States in 1989. He chose Daniel Quayle, a senator from Indiana, as his running mate.

Source: History


At the time, the US was in the midst of an economic recession and was affected by a hefty federal budget deficit, which stonewalled his efforts to advance domestic policies.

Source: History


Foreign policy soon became a central focus in the Bush administration.

Source: History


At the time of Bush’s inauguration, the world was reeling from the Cold War and the Soviet Union was collapsing.

Source: History


In 1991, Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which limited strategic nuclear weapons in both countries and improved US-Soviet relations in the process.

Source: History


In the previous year, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. NATO countries were called upon for aid, and Bush responded with Operation Desert Storm.

Source: History


Although the operation was a precursor to a long-standing conflict with Iraq, the 42-day air offensive successfully defeated Iraqi forces and liberated Kuwait.

Source: History


In one of his more controversial foreign policies in 1989, Bush rolled out Operation Just Cause, a plan to overthrow Panama’s corrupt dictator, Manuel Noriega.

Source: History


Noriega was indicted by the US for money laundering and drug trafficking, and was accused of suppressing democracy in Panama.

Source: History


After Noriega’s forces shot and killed an off-duty US Marine, Bush authorised Operation Just Cause. Twenty-one-thousand US troops dismantled Panama’s forces, forcing Noriega to surrender.

Source: History


The operation was denounced by some governing bodies, including the UN, who labelled it as a violation of international law.

Source: History


Back in the US, Bush made a number of strides to improve the lives of Americans.


He signed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, forbidding employers from discriminating against people with disabilities.

Source: History


In 1990, he made amendments to the Clean Air Act, which allowed greater precautions to be taken in light of emerging threats to the environment from cars and factories.

Source: History


During his presidency, Bush appointed Judges Clarence Thomas and David Souter to the Supreme Court.

Source: Texas Tribune


Despite his initial campaign promise for “no new taxes,” he upset many supporters after he mandated an increase to lessen the bloated budget deficit.

Source: History


The tax hike didn’t work in his favour when he ran for re-election in 1992. He lost to Democratic Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas.

Source: History


Following his re-election loss, Bush and his wife retired in Houston, Texas.

Source: Texas Tribune


Eight years later, Bush’s son, George W. Bush, became president and served two terms.

Source: History


The presidential pair, a father and his son to serve as president, was the second in US history. John and John Quincy Adams previously served as the second and sixth presidents, respectively.

Source: History


His presidential library, dedicated in 1997, sits next to Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas.

Source: Texas Tribune


Ten years later, Bush parachuted in with members of the US Army Golden Knights for a re-dedication ceremony at the presidential library,

Source: USA Today


In April 2018, Barbara died at the age of 92.


Bush was understandably “heartbroken.” In 2011, Bush read from a letter he once wrote to Barbara: “I love you, precious, with all my heart, and to know that you love me means my life.”

Source: Today


On November 30, eight months after the death of his wife, George H.W. Bush died at the age of 94.

Source: Business Insider


He is survived by his five children, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two siblings.

Source: Business Insider


At 94 years old, he was the longest living president in history.

Source: USA Today

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