Former President George H.W. Bush passed away on November 30, 2018, at the age of 94.
The last American president to have served in World War II, Bush was a naval aviator and a Yale-educated baseball player who met the love of his life at a Christmas party and celebrated his 90th birthday by jumping from a plane.
His life was dedicated to service, whether in the military or various positions within the government. But underneath that was just a man who loved his country — and a good time. (RELATED: Trump Pays Tribute To George H.W. Bush, Will Attend Funeral)
His service truly began on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was then that Bush made the decision to delay his college education and instead enlisted on his 18th birthday. He was the youngest naval aviator at the time.
George Herbert Walker Bush is pictured in the cockpit of his TBM Avenger during World War II. AFP PHOTO/WHITE HOUSE AFP/Getty Images
He married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945 — while he was still in the Navy — and attended Yale University after he returned from the war.
Bush entered politics after achieving success in the oil business in Texas, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40. His early political achievements were inauspicious — he lost two bids for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and 1970, but served in the House of Representatives from 1967-1971.
Beginning in 1971, Bush served in a number of positions including ambassador to the United Nations (1971-1973), chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973-1974), chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China (1974-1975) and director of the CIA (1976-1977).
By then he had caught the eye of California Governor Ronald Reagan, who was running for president. Bush served as vice president under Reagan for eight years before launching his own successful bid for the White House against Michael Dukakis in 1988.
US President George Bush (R) and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (L) drive away in a golf cart on November 24, 1989 from the helicopter landing zone at Camp David. LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images
Shortly before President Bush met with the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989, the Berlin Wall — famously ordered down by Reagan — finally fell. The summit meeting between Bush and Gorbachev marked the end of the Cold War.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (L) and US President George Bush (R) shake hands on December 02, 1989 on board the Soviet cruise “Maxim Gorki” ship docked at Marsaxlokk harbour, before the start of their first summit meeting, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. JONATHAN UTZ/AFP/Getty Images
Bush’s presidency also saw war in the middle east, as a U.S.-led coalition moved to repel an Iraqi invasion of the oil-rich Kuwait.
But Bush’s presidency and life after the White House was not all business, and not every moment worth remembering made front page news.
Here are a few such moments.
That time he let Gorbachev drive the golf cart.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (R) takes US President George Bush (L) for a ride in President Bush’s golf cart 02 June 1990. The two leaders were on their way back to their helicopter for the flight back to Washington after a day at the presidential retreat in Camp David. JEROME DELAY/AFP/Getty Images
He let his son walk all over him.
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY27: George W. Bush, son of the US President George Bush, playfully steps upon his father 27 January 1990 while he warms up for a run at Fort McNaire Army base while his mother Barbara (R) and US Secret Service agents look on. KEVIN LARKIN/AFP/Getty Images
Sometimes you just have to hide behind the car to change your shirt.
US President George Bush (C) reacts to cheers from the crowd as he changes his shirt after jogging on April 6, 1991 in a Houston park near his residence. Bush will meet with Mexican President Carlos Salinas in Houston on April 7. LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images
And sometimes that first pitch gets away from you.
BALTIMORE, MD – APRIL 6: U.S. President George Bush reacts at his less than perfect pitch to open the baseball season 06 April 1992. President Bush threw the first pitch to open the first regular season game in the new stadium here, which is called Oriole Park at Camden Yards. ROBERT GIROUX/AFP/Getty Images
He showed grace in the face of defeat.
WASHINGTON: U.S. President George Bush (R) shakes hands with President-elect Bill Clinton 18 November 1992 as Clinton leaves the White House after a meeting about the transition between administrations. LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images
He laughed at himself — and loved Dana Carvey’s parody of him on “Saturday Night Live” so much that he invited Carvey to the White House.
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 7: U. S. President George Bush (R) watches as comedian Dana Carvey does his George Bush impersonation 07 December 1992 Carvey and his wife Paula spent the night at the White House as guests of President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. ROBERT GIROUX/AFP/Getty Images
He pulled up a sandbag and prayed with American troops.
U.S. President George Bush prays 01 January 1993 with Marines before having a military lunch at the Baledogle airbase. Bush is in Somalia visiting with the troops involved in Operation Restore Hope. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images
He was a proud dad when his son earned the 2000 Republican nomination.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 31: Former US President George Bush (L) and his wife Barbara (R) enjoy the evening session of the 2000 Republican National Convention. The Bush family is on hand this week to see their son, George W. Bush, receive the nomination of the Republican Party for the 2000 presidential election. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
Former US President George Bush (L) and his wife Barbara laugh during the evening session of the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia’s First Union Center 31 July, 2000. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
And when his beloved Barbara passed on after 73 years of marriage, he sat by her side and greeted every well-wisher.
HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 20: Former President George H. W. Bush greets the mourners with his daughter Dorothy “Doro” Bush Koch during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston, Texas. Barbara Bush died on April 17, at the age of 92. Photo by Mark Burns/Office of George H.W. Bush via Getty Images
Fair winds and following seas, Mr. President. We have the watch.
The US flag flies at half-staff at the White House in tribute to former US President George H. W. Bush, on December 1, 2018, in Washington, DC. KATIE SCHUBAUER/AFP/Getty Images
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