Son of Green­wich mourned

Greenwich Time (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Karen Tensa

Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s roots went deep in Con­necti­cut.

The for­mer pres­i­dent, who died late Fri­day at the age of 94, moved to Green­wich as a baby. He grew up town, the sec­ond old­est of five sib­lings in a 1903 Vic­to­rian with a wrap­around porch at 15 Grove Lane.

Bush at­tended Green­wich Coun­try Day School — ar­riv­ing by limou­sine for classes.

Green­wich First Se­lect­man Peter J. Te­sei remembered Bush as a “home­town boy.”

“The Town of Green­wich, like the na­tion and the world, mourns the loss of one of its own — a mem­ber of the ‘Great­est Gen­er­a­tion,’” Te­sei said in a state­ment.

“Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush was a true home­town boy, that re­gard­less of his position in the

global sphere of po­lit­i­cal power, he re­mained for­ever tied to his fam­ily roots here in Green­wich.

“Pres­i­dent Bush was the epit­ome of self­less ser­vice to his coun­try. His mod­esty, his gen­uine and dig­ni­fied char­ac­ter served him well as the con­sum­mate pa­triot, states­man and pres­i­dent. His stead­fast de­meanor es­tab­lished the high stan­dard of con­duct for those who hold our Na­tion’s high­est of­fice,” Te­sei said.

“We ex­tend our heart­felt con­do­lences to the Bush fam­ily with the grat­i­tude that they so will­ingly shared their ‘Poppy’ with our na­tion to help make the United States the global power it is. May he now rest in peace with his beloved Bar­bara who passed away in April.”

Green­wich is the place where Bush met his wife, Bar­bara, who was from neigh­bor­ing Rye, N.Y. The two shared a dance at a Christ­mas Party at the Round Hill Club in town. He was 18 or 19, she was 16. The mar­riage, which lasted for 73 years un­til her death at age 92 in April, pro­duced six chil­dren. The old­est: for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, who was born in New Haven while his fa­ther was a stu­dent at Yale.

“Yale has lost a loyal friend,” Yale Univer­sity Pres­i­dent Peter Salovey said in a state­ment Satur­day morn­ing. “Through­out his life­time, Pres­i­dent Bush ex­em­pli­fied the val­ues of ser­vice and lead­er­ship we seek to fos­ter at Yale. A dec­o­rated vet­eran, he spent three years as a naval avi­a­tor fly­ing com­bat mis­sions over the Pa­cific be­fore en­ter­ing Yale.

“Once here, he distin­guished him­self as a stu­dent and an ath­lete. One of the great first base­men and base­ball cap­tains in Yale’s his­tory, Pres­i­dent Bush re­mained an avid ‘Bull­dog,’ a fan of Yale ath­let­ics, and an es­pe­cially ar­dent cham­pion of our stu­dent-vet­er­ans. He set an ex­am­ple of dig­ni­fied ser­vice to this coun­try that will con­tinue to in­spire fu­ture gen­er­a­tions at Yale.”

Gov Dan­nel Mal­loy di­rected that all U.S. and state flags in Con­necti­cut be low­ered to half-staff for 30 days in re­mem­brance of Bush.

“Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush was not only the leader of our na­tion dur­ing a time of tran­si­tion in a post-Cold War world, but he was also a son of Con­necti­cut, a war hero, a base­ball en­thu­si­ast, and a ded­i­cated and self­less pub­lic ser­vant,” Mal­loy said. “His com­mit­ment to serve this na­tion when called upon in nu­mer­ous ways — as an avi­a­tor, a con­gress­man, the head of the CIA, vice pres­i­dent, and as pres­i­dent and com­man­der-inchief — il­lus­trated his undy­ing love of coun­try. Es­pe­cially at this time as we mourn his loss, all of us as Amer­i­cans should take a mo­ment to re­flect on the di­plo­matic ways that Pres­i­dent Bush lived his life and the ex­am­ple he set for our na­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the years fol­low­ing his ser­vice in the White House.

“He un­der­stood that liv­ing in the great­est democ­racy in the world also means that we may have dif­fer­ences of opin­ion in poli­cies and ide­ol­ogy, but at the end of the day we are all Amer­i­cans who love our coun­try, whose peace­ful co­ex­is­tence is the very thing that makes this coun­try great, and who all want our na­tion to suc­ceed as one.” Mal­loy said. “Cathy and I ex­tend our deep­est sym­pa­thies to the Bush fam­ily, both to those who re­side here in Con­necti­cut as well as through­out the coun­try.”

For­mer Chief State’s At­tor­ney Christo­pher Mo­rano, whose dad, the late state Sen. Michael L. Mo­rano, R-Green­wich, was close friends with Bush, re­called Satur­day that the two shared the Green­wich con­nec­tion, but also a life­long de­vo­tion to help­ing peo­ple.

“They shared one thing: the gen­teel abil­ity to cross the (po­lit­i­cal party) aisle, they both shared that,” said Mo­rano, who grew up in Green­wich but now lives and prac­tices law in Es­sex.

Mo­rano re­called greet­ing Bush at a Hartford event in the 1980s and said as soon as he men­tioned his name, Bush “im­me­di­ately re­ferred to my fa­ther.”

“He was so much of a pres­ence in per­son,” Mo­rano said of Bush. “He re­ally was lis­ten­ing.”

Mo­rano said that his fa­ther, who served in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly for nearly 30 years and was known as “the beloved one,” stayed in touch with Bush, through notes and phone calls.

“When my fa­ther was ill, (Bush) would reach out to see how he was do­ing.”

“They had a very warm re­la­tion­ship,” Mo­rano said. “He (Bush) al­ways remembered the peo­ple he met through his ca­reer. He never for­got the peo­ple he worked with on his way up.”

Rus­sell Reynolds Jr. of Green­wich served as Bush’s cam­paign fi­nance man­ager in Con­necti­cut and was an old friend.

Think­ing about the for­mer pres­i­dent, Reynolds

said a num­ber of de­scrip­tive terms came to mind — “love, grace, re­spon­si­bil­ity, hum­ble, op­ti­mistic — a beau­ti­ful hu­man be­ing.”

Reynolds vis­ited with Bar­bara and Ge­orge H.W. Bush when he was vice pres­i­dent and they were liv­ing at the Naval Ob­ser­va­tory in Wash­ing­ton D.C, and came away im­pressed with their lack of pre­tense — “real peo­ple,” he called them.

Bush was the kind of leader the coun­try was for­tu­nate to have, Reynolds said. “It was a priv­i­lege work­ing for him. Re­ally smart, and tough when he needed to be,” he re­called.

E. Pendle­ton James, a long­time staff mem­ber for Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan, said Bush was a ma­jor as­set to the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“He was prob­a­bly the best vice pres­i­dent any pres­i­dent could have,” said James, a Green­wich res­i­dent. “With his knowl­edge of Wash­ing­ton, and for­eign pol­icy, he com­ple­mented Ron­ald Rea­gan very well. He was very able.”

Bush was also a kind and con­sid­er­ate friend, James said. When James was mov­ing his fam­ily from Cal­i­for­nia to Wash­ing­ton, Bush made an extra ef­fort to help the fam­ily find their way in an un­fa­mil­iar city.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blu­men­thal, D-Conn., who also lives in Green­wich, re­called Bush’s long ser­vice to the na­tion.

“What a great life! Ge­orge Bush earned deep re­spect across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum be­cause of his hon­esty, de­cency, and un­doubted ded­i­ca­tion to Amer­ica,” Blu­men­thal said. “Agree or dis­agree, peo­ple knew that what he said was what he be­lieved. And what he did, as well as said, was what he be­lieved was right for our na­tion. His per­sonal courage, moral fiber, and love for Amer­ica’s rich di­ver­sity, will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and hearts go out to his fam­ily, some still in Con­necti­cut, which is proud of his early years and fam­ily roots here.”

State Rep. Fred Camillo, R-Green­wich, paid trib­ute to Bush’s ser­vice to the coun­try, some­thing that went far be­yond pol­i­tics.

“No man ever walked into the pres­i­dency more pre­pared, and no one ever walked out more re­spected,” Camillo said. “His de­cency as a per­son, his per­for­mance as a leader, and his courage as the youngest Amer­i­can shot down in World War II will ce­ment his legacy as an Amer­i­can hero.”

State. Sen. L Scott Frantz, R-Green­wich, praised Bush’s pub­lic ser­vice.

“Pres­i­dent Bush helped de­fine the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion based on his de­vo­tion to mil­i­tary and pub­lic ser­vice with his gen­uine in­tent to im­prove the coun­try and re­la­tion­ships around the world,” Frantz said. “Ad­di­tion­ally, he was fa­mous for be­ing the con­sum­mate fam­ily man and for be­ing a truly nice per­son. He will be sorely missed, and I be­lieve his pass­ing marks the end of an era.”

Dan­bury Mayor Mark Boughton took to Twit­ter to re­mem­ber Bush.

“A great man. And a great pres­i­dent. Met him twice. Sent my fa­ther a beau­ti­ful note in the 70s he never for­got. His­tory will be kind to him,” Boughton said.

An­so­nia Mayor Dave Cas­setti, who met Bush and talked to him for a minute or so in 1992, has fond mem­o­ries of that ex­pe­ri­ence — and of Bush’s pres­i­dency.

“He was the most qual­i­fied man to hold the position of pres­i­dent — I mean, he was am­bas­sador to China, he was di­rec­tor of the CIA, he was vice pres­i­dent,” Cas­seti said.

“I’m sad­dened to hear that he passed, but at least I got to see him and talk to him — and I’ve got the pic­ture to prove it,” said Cas­setti.

Bush, who was pres­i­dent at the time, spoke in War­saw Park in An­so­nia, said Cas­setti, who was a con­struc­tion con­trac­tor back then.

“He looked at me and came up to me. I gave him a shirt and a hat from my busi­ness,” said Cas­setti. “Some­body snapped a pic­ture and it appeared in the Water­bury Repub­li­can.

“I got to talk to him for a minute,” Cas­setti re­called. “He ac­tu­ally was on his way to Florida be­cause Hur­ri­cane An­drew was on its way.”

He remembered Bush as “a very nice man, very easy go­ing, very po­lite. He thanked me for the shirt and hat,” which bore the in­signia of Cas­setti’s Birm­ing­ham Con­struc­tion, he said.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman also mourned Bush, who is remembered as a fa­vorite son in the Nut­meg State.

“Pres­i­dent Bush lived an ex­tra­or­di­nary life and his last­ing im­pact on our na­tion will be for­ever remembered,” she said. “The en­tire Bush fam­ily has given so much to our coun­try, par­tic­u­larly through their po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary ser­vices, and our hearts are with them dur­ing this time of mourn­ing.”

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