By Associated Press |
HOUSTON (AP) — Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the greatest generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of other people who filled the church with laughter as much as tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of mothering him and his siblings “a benevolent dictatorship — but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent.” He emphasized how she believed in the power of laughter and that joy should be shared.
He said he could still feel her presence Saturday inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church and she would likely have given him advice on his eulogy: “Jeb, keep it short. Don’t drag this out,” he said to chuckles. He met her expectations with a speech lasting about seven minutes.
He choked up at one point while addressing the roughly 1,500 people seated inside the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parents regularly worshipped, when saying his mother — who was known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and gray hair — was “beautiful” until the very end.
He said he felt privileged that he had a “front row” seat to the incredible love story shared by his mother and father, former President George H.W. Bush, who laughed as longtime friends and family recalled his wife’s wicked sense of humor during the nearly two-hour service. After he spoke, Jeb Bush walked over to his father, and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.