The death of former President George H.W. Bush prompted fond memories and profound sympathies from Ohio lawmakers and others.
Word of Bush's death came late Friday night. He was 94.
Bush, who served one term as the 41st president, from 1989 until January of 1993, had been suffering from a form of Parkinson's Disease. He died just seven months after the death of his wife, Barbara. They were the longest-married couple in presidential history at 73 years.
President Donald Trump said in a statement that "through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.
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"With sound judgment, common sense, and unflappable leadership, President Bush guided our Nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War," Trump said. "As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed. And through all that, he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction."
Gov. John Kasich ordered that flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset for the next 30 days in honor of President George H.W. Bush.
“Ohioans join with all Americans and millions of people throughout the free world to mourn the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush," Kasich said in a statement. "He will be remembered as a devoted husband and father, a gentleman, a patriot, a public servant, a statesman and a leader. He understood the value and power of each of us and that’s why he created ‘a thousand points of light’ to encourage us to come together as a nation and lift each other up. Our thoughts are with the Bush family and all those who worked with this great man to make the world a better, safer place.”
Ohio Governor-Elect Mike DeWine remembered the elder Bush’s frequent visits to Ohio, recalling one visit in which the family posed for a picture with him at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. While the group was posing, Bush noticed that DeWine’s son Brian had the flap of his jacket pocket turned out. “Ever the father, he helped him fix it before the picture was taken,” DeWine recalled.
"President Bush said that the definition of a successful life was in serving others, and he urged Americans to reach out to those in need as part of a 'thousand points of light,’” DeWine said. “President Bush never stopped helping his fellow Americans, and led the way for volunteer efforts in times of disaster or other events, often partnering with his 1992 political rival turned personal friend, President Bill Clinton.”
He said Bush, who lost his daughter, Robin, to cancer when she was a child, called and offered his condolences when the DeWine’s daughter Becky died in 1993.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, spoke of Bush's humility.
“Like most of the WWII generation, and our veterans today, President George H.W. Bush never bragged about his military record," he said. "He simply dedicated his life to service, and we are all grateful for his commitment to our country. Connie and I send our deepest condolences to the Bush family, and everyone mourning his loss today, including our friend Rob Portman, who served with President Bush.”
Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, also offered condolences to Bush's family. "A man of deep conviction, integrity, faith, and patriotism, President Bush was a true statesman who believed in the power of service to others," she said.
Rep. Steve Stivers said the country “woke up this morning to the loss of a true American patriot.”
“George H.W. Bush was the representation of what it means to be a servant leader,” said the Upper Arlington Republican. “Whether it was serving in the Navy in World War II, as CIA Director and UN Ambassador, or in the White House during the Cold War and Desert Storm, President Bush spent his life dedicated to advancing our country’s standing on the world.”
And Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, offered his prayers to Bush's family, friends and the American people.
“President Bush lived an extraordinary life full of outstanding achievements and commitment to serving this country," he said.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, tweeted that Bush’s leadership “reunified Germany and opened Eastern Europe to democracy without war.”
“Millions of people live in democracy today as a result of his actions as president,” he tweeted. “My prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”