Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined dignitaries across the nation in mourning the death of former President George H. W. Bush.
The nation’s 41st president died late Friday at his home in Houston. He was 94 and had been in failing health.
“President Bush was a statesman, a leader who understood that Americans should aspire to uplift our common humanity — even in the midst of honest disagreements over ideas,” Garcetti said in a prepared statement. “His lifetime of service was defined by qualities too often in short supply in our politics: decency, dignity, civility, patriotism.
“His devotion to family and country inspired people everywhere, and my thoughts are with everyone who loved and admired him.”
Bush also served as vice president during President Ronald Reagan’s eight years in office, and the foundation that oversees the former president’s library in Simi Valley remembered their friendship and political alliance.
“During their eight years in office, President Reagan and Vice President Bush forged a remarkable partnership,” the Reagan Foundation statement said. “As they reignited the U.S. economy, battled tyranny across the globe, and restored America’s pride and purpose, President Reagan relied on his vice president’s calm, strength, loyalty, and wisdom.
“In all that the administration achieved, President Reagan once remarked, `no one has been closer to my side and has contributed more to our success than George Bush.’ As president, George Bush built on this legacy, steering America through challenging times at home and abroad. Respectful of others, thoroughly devoted to service, and gracious even in defeat, he also solidified his reputation for integrity and decency.”
Meanwhile, the Richard Nixon Foundation invited the public to visit the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda to pay tribute to Bush. The Foundation will collect condolence messages in a book that will be delivered to the Bush family. Messages will be collected until Dec. 16 in the Annenberg Entrance Court during normal hours. Museum officials said admission is not required to write a condolence message.
Bush, a decorated World War II Navy pilot who was shot down in the Pacific in 1944, held a variety of positions before entering the executive branch. This included being director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a two-term congressman from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, U.S. envoy to China and chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Before entering public service, Bush worked in the oil industry and during the 1940s, he and his young family lived in five California cities: Compton, Huntington Park, Whittier, Ventura and Bakersfield. He married Barbara Pierce, his wife of 73 years, on Jan. 6, 1945. She preceded him in death less than eight months ago on April 17.
During his presidency, Bush oversaw the end of the Cold War, and guided the first Gulf War effort to liberate Kuwait after it was invaded by Iraq. But he lost a bid for re-election in 1992 after the economy faltered later in his presidency.
His son, George W. Bush, would follow him into the White House, serving from 2001 to 2009. Another son, Jeb, served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.
Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered flags at the state Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Bush’s honor, while offering his condolences.
“Our thoughts are with the Bush family tonight,” Brown said in a late Friday statement. “America has lost a true public servant.”
His incoming successor, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, joined in sharing his remembrance.
“President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, exemplified public service through decency, civility and honor,” Newsom said late Friday. “He represented the best of the Greatest Generation, serving his country in battle and then as a civilian, answering duty’s call anew. In public life, he built bridges, championed the Americans with Disabilities Act and stood with America’s immigrant communities.
“The United States of America has lost a bright civic light tonight, and Jennifer and I send the Bush family and the nation our sincere condolences.”