Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - MICHAEL SNEED [email protected]­times.com | @sneedlings

It was a let­ter from a bet­ter man than most. He sim­ply signed it Ge­orge Bush. He sim­ply dated it 9-13-01.

If you are won­der­ing about that date, sub­tract two days — and con­sider it was writ­ten two days af­ter our na­tion was hit with the worst ter­ror­ist at­tack in our his­tory. 9-11.

The late pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, who was known for be­ing a pur­veyor of per­sonal notes and kind words, sent the note to a Chicago ac­quain­tance of mine.

It was dis­patched on the for­mer pres­i­dent’s per­sonal sta­tionery etched with a sketch of the Bush fam­ily com­pound in Ken­neb­unkport, Maine, where Bush and his wife, Bar­bara, lived from May to Oc­to­ber each year.

Mary Kay Haben, who lives in Chicago and was once pres­i­dent of Kraft’s Cheese Divi­sion USA un­til 2007, was the re­cip­i­ent of Bush’s mis­sive and has given Sneed per­mis­sion to share it with our read­ers.

“As we honor and re­mem­ber our 41st pres­i­dent to­day, I wanted to share some­thing with you that Ge­orge Her­bert Walker Bush sent me back in 2001,” emailed Haben on Thurs­day.

“When I was at Kraft, he helped us with a Junior Achieve­ment ef­fort. [Junior Achieve­ment is the na­tion’s largest or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing young peo­ple with the knowl­edge and skills to foster fu­ture aca­demic and eco­nomic suc­cess.]

“So he thanked all of our JA vol­un­teers via voice­mail for all our help,” said Haben, who called Sneed late Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

“I was in charge of the vol­un­teers, so

I sent him a thank-you note and a Kraft goodie bag.

“This is what he sent me in re­turn. A per­sonal hand­writ­ten card.

“Please no­tice the date on the back of the card; it was writ­ten just two days af­ter 9/11.

“Hence, his re­quest to pray for our coun­try and his ‘beloved son.’

“I will al­ways trea­sure this. A great man.” The let­ter reads:

“Dear Mary Kay,

I loved your note, but the plea­sure was all mine. I am very proud of what Kraft does for JA. And, again thanks for all those great Kraft prod­ucts. Say a prayer for the USA and for our beloved son.

All the best,

Ge­orge Bush


“I once promi­nently dis­played it in my of­fice un­til I re­tired,” she said. “Then I put it in a file folder. It even­tu­ally wound up stored in a mini ware­house. You can bet it will be proudly dis­played again.”

◆ Back­shot: Fol­low­ing Bush’s state fu­neral in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day — at­tended by four liv­ing pres­i­dents who joined Bush’s son, for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, who gave an emo­tional eu­logy — Bush’s body was flown to Hous­ton, Texas, on Thurs­day for burial next to his wife at his pres­i­den­tial li­brary in Col­lege Sta­tion, which was pref­aced by a cel­e­bra­tion of his life at the Epis­co­pal church where he wor­shipped for half a decade.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush wrote this note to Chicagoan Mary Kay Haben two days af­ter 9/11.

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