Former president George H.W. Bush made history today by becoming the first former president to celebrate a 94th birthday. Bush will mark his birthday with his family in Kennebunkport, Maine. Chief of Staff Jean Becker says the nation’s 41st president wants a low-key day relaxing at his home. Several of his children are in town, including former President George W. Bush.
This birthday will be a little different than ones past. The former president jumped out of a plane on his 90th, 85th and 80th birthdays, with two of those jumps completed with the Army Golden Knights. This year though, he is still recovering from a hospitalization that occurred over Memorial Day for low blood pressure and fatigue. He was released from the hospital on June 4.
Bush is currently the longest living president. Gerald Ford died at the age of 93 years and 165 days. Ronald Reagan passed away at 93 years and 120 days. Jimmy Carter was born four months after Bush and will turn 94 on Oct. 1.
Bush was born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. During his life, he served in many roles in government, the highest being 41st President. After the presidency, he remained active in public life until the onset of Parkinson’s. In February 2011, then-president Obama presented Bush with the Medal of Freedom, saying, “His life is a testament that public service is a noble calling. … His humility and his decency reflects the very best of the American spirit.”
Bush met his wife, Barbara, at a country club dance in 1941, and they were married in 1945. They had six children. Their eldest son was elected President in 2000, making him and George W. only the second father-son duo in history to hold the office, with the first being John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Another son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was among the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Barbara Bush died in April. They were married for 73 years, the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history. Bush celebrated what would have been his wife’s 93rd birthday by tweeting about her service to others. There were worries at the time that he would soon follow his wife to the grave as he was hospitalized with a blood infection the day after Barbara’s funeral. It is reassuring to all that he was able to celebrate this milestone surrounded by loved ones.