Hundreds gathered Saturday for a private funeral for former first lady Barbara Bush at the nation’s largest Episcopal church. First Lady Melania Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were among those who attended the invitation-only service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
Thousands of people on Friday also paid respects to Barbara Bush, wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd. Bush died Tuesday at her Houston home. She was 92.
On Saturday, her family remembered her as a God-fearing, kind and strict woman who devoted her life to others.
“She called her style a benevolent dictatorship, but honestly, it wasn’t always benevolent,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked during one of the eulogies.
He recalled his mother as a wonderful example, and his parents’ marriage as loving and long-lasting. They were married 73 years, until the day of her death. The late former first lady’s grandchildren read biblical passages, ones that could – in many ways – relate to their grandmother’s life.
“Strength and dignity are her clothing. And she laughs at the time to come,” Jenna Bush Hager, granddaughter of Barbara Bush and son of George W. Bush, read from Proverbs 31.
“So we do not lose heart,” read Barbara Pierce Bush, Jenna Bush Hager’s sister, from 2 Corinthians 4. “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Family friends also reminisced about the late first lady.
Susan Garrett Baker, longtime friend of the late Barbara Bush and the widow of former Secretary of State James Baker, called her the “gold standard of what it means to be a friend.”
Following the service, Bush will be buried at the Bush Library at Texas A&M University, about 100 miles northwest of Houston. The burial site is surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953, is buried.