George H.W. Bush 'Touched' by Mourners at Public Viewing of Former First Lady Barbara Bush

Around 2,500 people visited a Houston church during a public memorial for First Lady Barbara Bush on Friday. President George H.W. Bush greeted mourners, who wanted to pay their respects for the wife of the president and mother of President George W. Bush.

Barbara Bush died Tuesday at age 92. The 93-year-old Bush and the First Lady were married for 73 years before her death.

"I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I used to tease her that I had a complex about that fact. But the truth is the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at The Enforcer is lifting us all up," Bush said in a statement released by his office. "We have faith she is in heaven, and we know life will go on – as she would have it. So cross the Bushes off your worry list."

george hw bush meets mourners
(Photo: Mark Burns/Office of George H.W. Bush via Getty Images)

On Friday, a public memorial was held at the St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, where two Secret Service members stood by the casket. Bush also attended the memorial and was seen personally greeting mourners during his 15-minute visit, reports Entertainment Tonight.

Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman, told the Associated Press that Bush also watched live video of the hundreds of mourners waiting outside the church to pay their respects. He was "very touched" by the scene and wanted to personally greet the mourners, McGrath said.

"It was entirely the president's idea to go there," McGrath said.

The church opened at noon and Barbara Bush's casket was on view for 12 hours. Women arrived wearing blue, her favorite color and pearls, her favorite jewellery.

Barbara Bush's funeral is set for Saturday at the same church.

"My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was," President George W. Bush wrote in his own statement. "Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I'm a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes."

Bush and Barbara Bush married in 1945. She is one of only two women who was married to a president and was mother to a president, following Abigail Adams. She is also survived by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Neil Mallon Bush, Marvin Pierce Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush Koch. The couple also had another daughter, Robin Bush, who died from leukemia at age 3.


Photo credit: Mark Burns/Office of George H.W. Bush via Getty Images