Generous, kind and funny Greenwich remembers Barbara Bush

April 19, 2018 GMT

GREENWICH — Barbara Bush was remembered as a role model and a humanitarian by her admirers and friends in Connecticut after her death in Houston on Tuesday at the age of 92.

The first lady was a frequent visitor to Greenwich, spending time with her mother-in-law, Dorothy Bush, at her homes on Grove Lane and Pheasant Lane. She also visited Prescott Jr. and Beth Bush, her brother in-law and his wife, at their home in Greenwich.

Bush attended services at Christ Church Greenwich on a number of occasions, the last time for Prescott Bush Jr.’s memorial service in 2010. Locally, Christ Church has been known as the Bush Family’s “home church.”

Russell Reynolds Jr., a longtime friend of Barbara Bush, recalled her as someone who was down-to-earth, funny and warm.

He recalled a visit to the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, the residence of then-Vice President George Bush. Barbara Bush “took us up to the attic, and with great enthusiasm, showed us the repair work being done,” Reynolds recalled. “She had an enthusiasm, an interest in things, she was an honest open person. And very faith-filled.”


Reynolds, who was an inaugural-ball chairman for President George H.W. Bush and worked on his campaign, said the president was fortunate in his marriage. “Terrific marriage. Like most great marriages, she had a strong point of view on many subjects,” Reynolds said. “Great lives, straight out of a storybook. It’s a great family.”

As for Barbara Bush, Reynolds recalled, “She had a terrific sense of humor, very self confident, and she took life seriously, not herself. I don’t think being first lady changed her a bit, she was the same. Very gracious, on top of things, quick, and delightful.”

State Rep. Livvy Floren said Bush exemplified the virtues that everyone on the public stage should emulate. “To me, Barbara Bush is an American heroine. She leaves a legacy of humanity and humility. In concert with her common sense, no-nonsense straight talk, she was the epitome of generosity and kindness, and her initiatives to foster childhood literacy are legendary in their lasting impact,” Floren said.

Stamford-based Americares recalled the work that Bush devoted to the global humanitarian nonprofit group. She went abroad on aid missions to Ethiopia, Croatia and Guatemala for the organization when it was just starting, and accommodations were modest at best.

“No one was a better ambassador for Americares than Barbara Bush,” co-founder Leila Macauley said. “It wasn’t glamorous work, but she was a trouper and believed in our mission. She helped us build one of the country’s largest humanitarian organizations in only a few short years. We owe her a debt of gratitude.”

First Selectman Peter Tesei offered his condolences, noting that the George and Barbara Bush met in Greenwich at the Round Hill Club as teenagers.


“Mrs. Bush was a true champion with a passionate commitment to her family, her faith and for literacy. Those will be among her legacies,” Tesei wrote in a statement. “I think that something Mrs. Bush told graduates at a college commencement years ago still resonates today and illustrates how she lived her life: ‘Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.’ ... Mrs. Bush was a member of the Greatest Generation and because of those ideals, she will not be forgotten as they will live on with her family.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy reminded residents to lower all flags to half-staff in her honor.

“Barbara Bush had a respect and love for our country that perhaps was only surpassed by her love for her family,” Malloy said in a statement. Nobody can deny the honesty, dignity, and class with which she carried herself..”

The private funeral service for Barbara Bush will be held at St. Martin’s Church in Houston on Saturday. The burial at the George H.W. Presidential Library and Museum will also be private.