Prescott S. Bush (1895-1972)
George H.W. Bush's father, Prescott Bush, was George's model for public service. Prescott made his fortune on Wall Street as a partner with Brown Brothers Harriman. He associated with the "Wise Men" -- advisors including Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and John McCloy, who influenced American foreign policy -- and served as the moderator of the Greenwich town meetings for more than 15 years before running for the U.S. Senate in 1950. In 1952 Prescott won the Senate seat in a special election and served for ten years before retiring due to ill health. Known for reaching across the aisle to solve political problems, Prescott built a reputation in Washington that helped his son when the younger Bush arrived there as congressman in 1966. Prescott died of cancer in 1972.
Dorothy Walker Bush (1901-1992)
George Bush's mother, Dorothy Bush, had a strong influence on her son. Her lessons in modesty and humility tipped almost to the extreme as she strove to impress upon her children the importance of being team players and not participating in, in her word, "braggadocio." While her sense of humanity and compassion may have left a positive impression on Bush, many also believe that her influence led to a discomfort in calling attention to himself that may have handicapped him for a life in the political spotlight. Dorothy died just weeks after President Bush lost the 1992 election. Of her grandmother's death, Bush's daughter Doro later wrote, "It's still moving to think I was there when my father said good-bye to his mother, the woman who had the biggest impact on his life. I believe that to be true because my dad's life was not defined by the political system he navigated, but by the set of beliefs his mother taught him."
George W. Bush (1946- )
George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush's first son, George W. Bush, was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1946. Following his father to Phillips Academy, Yale and into the oil business, George W. then struck out on his own path, acquiring the Texas Rangers baseball team. Despite the disappointment of his father's loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, George W. announced to his father in 1994 that he would run for governor of Texas. He won in an upset against incumbent governor Ann Richards. In 2000, George W. Bush was elected the 43rd president of the United States, in one of the most contentious elections on record. Asked by reporters to reveal the most important lesson he learned from his father's presidency, George W. Bush answered, "Spend your political capital."
Robin Bush (1949-1953)
George and Barbara's first daughter, Pauline Robinson Bush, was born in 1949. Shortly after her brother Jeb was born, three-year-old Robin was diagnosed with leukemia, which was a death sentence in the early 1950s. The doctor suggested that George and Barbara keep their daughter at home, in Texas, as the illness ran its course, but instead they admitted her to Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, renowned for its cancer research. Despite doctors' efforts, Robin died seven months later, on October 12, 1953. In recognition of the lifetime of work that George and Barbara Bush have dedicated to raising awareness and money for cancer research, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston surprised the Bushes in 2004 when they opened The Robin Bush Child and Adolescent Clinic.
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (1953- )
Jeb Bush, the Bushes' second son, also followed his father and grandfather into public service. As a high school exchange student in Mexico, Jeb met his future wife, Columba. After graduating from the University of Texas, Jeb built his fortune in real estate. In 1994 he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Florida. He ran again in 1998 to become the second Bush to serve as a governor. Jeb remained in office in Florida for the maximum two terms and returned to private life in January 2007.
Neil Mallon Bush (1955- )
Neil Bush was born in January 1955, and named for a family friend, Henry Neil Mallon, who had given George H.W. Bush his first job in the oil business. When his father was president, Neil became the target of a congressional investigation for his involvement as outside director of Silverado Savings and Loan, one of the many failed banks that were part of the savings and loan crisis that came to a head during Bush's presidency. Barbara coached Neil, in his youth, to overcome dyslexia -- his personal interest in learning disabilities led him to found an educational software corporation, Ignite! Learning.
Marvin Pierce Bush (1956- )
Named for Barbara Bush's father, Marvin Bush was born in 1956 and is the youngest of the Bush boys. He co-founded the investment management company Winston Partners in 1993.
Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch (1959- )
After Robin's death, George H.W. Bush wrote a letter to his mother that read, in part, "There is about our house a need ... we need a girl." Doro's birth in 1959 was an answer to that wish. In June 1975, Doro, George W., Neil and Marvin visited their parents at the U.S. Liaison Office in China. Doro had never been baptized, and the Bushes decided that with almost all of their family together, a rarity with five children, they should go ahead with the baptism while in China. As the Chinese government did not allow freedom of worship to their citizens, Doro became the first person publicly baptized in a Christian ceremony in the People's Republic of China since the Communist party took control of the country in 1949. In 2006, Doro wrote My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H.W. Bush.
My American Experience
Who is your favorite 20th-century American president? Was it FDR? Reagan? Clinton? Or one of the other 14 men who helped usher the United Sates through the 1900s? Who do you think was the most influential?