Biography of George H.W. Bush

George H. W. Bush: 41st president dead at 94

Former President George H. W. Bush has died at the age of 94.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush died shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush.

>> Photos: George H. W. Bush through the years

The nation’s 41st president served from 1989 to 1993, and eight years later watched his son, George W. Bush, became the 43rd president.

The elder Bush had a form of Parkinson's disease and used a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around. 

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The second of five children, George Herbert Walker Bush was born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, to Prescott and Dorothy Bush.

He was the youngest naval aviator when he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943, spurred by the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

He flew 58 combat missions during World War II, including one that required he be rescued by a submarine after his plane was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire.

For his bravery, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

It was while Bush was in the military that he first met Barbara Pierce, then a student at Smith College. The couple were married Jan. 6, 1945, making theirs the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history.

The couple had six children: George W., Robin, John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. Robin died as a child. George W. Bush was governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000 and served two terms as president from 2001 to 2009. Jeb Bush, who was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, ran for the Republican nomination in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, but lost his bid to Donald Trump, who would defeat Hillary Clinton in November 2016.

After graduating from Yale University in 1948, Bush moved to Texas and became a successful oilman before running for Congress.

Following in the footsteps of his father, U.S. Sen. Prescott Bush (R-Connecticut), Bush launched a career in politics in 1963. He served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice president.

President George Bush (1989 File photo - AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
Photo: Dennis Cook/AP

Bush ran in November 1966 for Congress and won. After his second term and a failed bid to win a U.S. Senate seat, President Richard Nixon appointed Bush to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and, later, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

President Gerald Ford appointed Bush as an "envoy" to China — the two nations did not yet have full diplomatic relations, so Bush could not be called an ambassador — and then director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In 1989, he became the first sitting vice president to secure the presidency since Martin Van Buren in 1837.

Only one other U.S. president, John Adams, had a son who also became president. John Quincy Adams was the nation’s sixth president.

Information from The Associated Press and the Houston Chronicle was used in this report.

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