Houston, Texas, USA: Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George Bush joined about 1500 guests at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, on Saturday, for a private, invitation-only, funeral service to honor the life and legacy of former first lady Barbara Bush, who died on Tuesday at the age of 92. Incumbent President Donald Trump was reportedly not invited.
After Donald Trump was not invited to attend the funeral service for Barbara Bush, the White House announced that First Lady Melania Trump would take his place. Melania Trump, did attend, joining three former first ladies — Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he would watch the funeral, which was televised, from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady, were unable to make the journey; a spokeswoman said that Mr. Carter would be on a private trip overseas and that Mrs. Carter was recovering from recent surgery.
Barbara Bush and her husband, former President George Bush, began attending St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, soon after moving to Houston in the late 1950s.
Thousands of mourners, paid their tributes at the public viewing on Friday, saying goodbye to one of the most prominent political matriarchs of their lifetimes.
Flags were flown at half-mast for the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd as the service began.
The 90-minute funeral service, began 11 a.m. local time, Saturday, with songs before the former first lady’s granddaughters all read a proverb. The women lined up as they each read a passage. Rev. Russell Levenson Jr. led the service. The priest is a longtime friend of the Bush family. He also gave a eulogy speaking about the former first lady being a child of God.
Presidential historian Jon Meacham delivered the first eulogy speaking about Bush’s life and sharing funny encounters he had with the former first lady.
Her son Jeb Bush, the former two-term governor of Florida; Susan Baker, a longtime friend and the wife of James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state; and Jon Meacham, a presidential historian who published a biography of her husband in 2015 – were among those who eulogsed the former first lady.
Saturday’s funeral capped a week-long period of mourning in Houston. There were formal gatherings and impromptu tributes at City Hall, the police headquarters, the elder Mr. Bush’s office, and Barbara Bush Elementary School in the city’s Energy Corridor.
After the funeral, a motorcade proceeds through Memorial Park and travels more than 90 miles northwest to College Station, where Mrs. Bush is to be buried in a private service at Texas A&M University, on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Mrs. Bush is to be buried beside her daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at the age of 3 in 1953.