BUSH

Greenwich Time (Sunday) - - OBIT­U­AR­IES/NEWS -

most se­cret se­nior so­ci­ety, in 1947. His fa­ther was a mem­ber be­fore him, as would be his son, fu­ture Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, af­ter him. “George Bush is ex­actly loyal to other friends as those who hap­pened to be in the so­ci­ety with him,” for­mer U.S. Rep. Thomas Ash­ley, D-Ohio, told the Associated Press in 1988. “His friend­ship across the so­cial range is known to every­one.”

Mem­bers of Bush’s Bones class re­u­nited in Wash­ing­ton while Bush was vice pres­i­dent, din­ing at the vice pres­i­dent’s man­sion and tour­ing the Oval Of­fice.

It was af­ter Yale that Bush left Con­necti­cut for Texas and the oil in­dus­try. But he never cut his ties to Green­wich. Fam­ily, in­clud­ing his mother and older brother, still lived here, and he re­turned on oc­ca­sion, even af­ter at­tain­ing the high­est of of­fices.

One visit was as vice pres­i­dent in Septem­ber 1986, when he flew in for a rally at Green­wich High School. Stu­dents from Green­wich High, Brunswick, Green­wich Acad­emy, Con­vent of the Sa­cred Heart and the Day­croft School met him as he ar­rived at Westch­ester County Air­port and rode in his limou­sine back to the school.

When Bush ran for pres­i­dent in 1988, five Green­wich res­i­dents trav­eled to New Or­leans to serve as del­e­gates and al­ter­nates at the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

“There’s a spe­cial, warm bond of friend­ship he will have with the Con­necti­cut del­e­ga­tion and many per­sonal bonds,” said Wil­liam Nick­er­son, then state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the 140th Dis­trict.

More than 180 mem­bers of the Bush ex­tended fam­ily trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton for the 41st pres­i­dent’s in­au­gu­ra­tion. So did many friends from Green­wich. Some stayed there. Among the Green­wich res­i­dents who served in Bush’s ad­min­is­tra­tion were Joseph Verner Reed, White House chief of pro­to­col; David George Ball, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of la­bor; and for­mer Green­wich Po­lice Chief Wil­liam An­der­son, U.S. mar­shal.

Bush did not get back of­ten to town as pres­i­dent, but of­ten enough that res­i­dents of Pheas­ant Lane, where Dorothy Bush lived later in life, came to know the sound of the 25-ve­hi­cle pres­i­den­tial mo­tor­cade rum­bling down their nar­row road. Shortly be­fore he left of­fice, Bush re­turned to Pheas­ant Road, and Christ Church, for his mother’s fu­neral in 1992.

Eight years ago, the ex­pres­i­dent, then 86, re­turned to Christ Church once again, mak­ing a low-key en­trance through the side door of the sanc­tu­ary with an en­tourage of Se­cret Ser­vice agents in tow, and sit­ting in the third row of pews dur­ing a memo­rial ser­vice to the older brother he knew as Pressy.

Prescott Bush Jr. died June 23, 2010. Un­like his fa­ther and younger brother, Prescott Jr. lived most of his po­lit­i­cal life be­hind the scenes, help­ing oth­ers get elected. His bold­est foray into the fore­front came in a 1982 chal­lenge to Low­ell P. We­icker Jr.’s Se­nate seat, which he with­drew prior to that year’s pri­mary in a show of party unity.

“They are just a premier Amer­i­can fam­ily,” Reed, a life­long friend of the for­mer pres­i­dent’s who died in 2016, told Green­wich Time af­ter Prescott Jr.’s death.

That Bush, draw­ing on the early lessons from the play­ing fields and courts of Green­wich, did not wear the airs of a po­lit­i­cal scion turned out to be one of his great pub­lic strengths, though every­one didn’t al­ways see it as such.

“We told him the fact that your mother told you not to brag is a big li­a­bil­ity and you’re never go­ing to be elected,” Rus­sell Reynolds Jr., a long­time Green­wich res­i­dent and an in­au­gu­ral ball chair­man for Bush in 1989, told Green­wich Time in 2014. “We told him you have to be more force­ful and talk about your­self.”

It wasn’t to be. The Yan­kee sto­icism that for­bade brag­ging also dis­al­lowed any sign of self pity, which Bush would not show, not when he lost his re-elec­tion cam­paign to Bill Clin­ton in 1992, not when Parkin­son’s dis­ease took the use of his legs late in life.

“He is a liv­ing ex­am­ple of grace and courage, re­gard­less of the phys­i­cal chal­lenges that he deals with daily,” Deb­bie Walker Sta­ple­ton, a first cousin of Bush and long­time Green­wich res­i­dent, said on his 90th birth­day, which he marked by jump­ing out of an air­plane, de­spite us­ing a wheel­chair.

That rep­u­ta­tion, earned over decades of pub­lic ser­vice, suf­fered last year when sev­eral women ac­cused him of grop­ing their but­tocks while pos­ing for pho­tographs.

Bush’s staff at the time is­sued apolo­gies and said the for­mer pres­i­dent meant the ac­tions as a joke, a mo­ti­va­tion that sex­ual as­sault ex­perts said mat­ters lit­tle to the re­cip­i­ent. Those who knew Bush best, and much of the coun­try, could not rec­on­cile the ac­cu­sa­tions with the man they knew.

“Un­be­liev­able,” Green­wich res­i­dent E. Pendle­ton James, who served as Ron­ald Rea­gan’s as­sis­tant for pres­i­den­tial per­son­nel, said af­ter the first ac­cu­sa­tion be­came pub­lic, adding that Bush treated women “with great re­spect and hu­mor.”

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia file photo

Pres­i­dent George H. W. Bush greets a crowd gath­ered at Nolan Field in Ansonia on Aug. 24, 1992.

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