Barbara Bush remembered in private funeral service

Image 1 of 5

Family, friends and the nation are preparing to say goodbye to Barbara Bush. The former first lady will be remembered Saturday morning in a private funeral service at the church she has called home for over 60 years, and later in the day, she’ll be laid to rest on the grounds of her husband’s presidential library.

Mrs. Bush passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 92, with her family at her side-- including her husband of 73 years, former president George H.W. Bush, at her side holding her hand as he had reportedly been all day.

Saturday’s service is private, with about 1,500 invited guests expected to attend. Among them: the entire Bush family, including her oldest son, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush; former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton; Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama; and first lady Melania Trump, who is attending on behalf of President Donald Trump. The service begins at 11 a.m. central time and is expected to least about 90 minutes. 

Her son and former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, is among three people expected to eulogize Mrs. Bush during the service, while her grandchildren— who referred to her as “Ganny” — will also take part in readings. The full schedule for her services will be released Saturday morning. 

Photo credit: Getty Images

Mrs. Bush’s funeral will take place at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where the Bushes have been members since the early 1950s. St. Martin’s Episcopal Church bills itself as the largest Episcopal church in the country, but when George H.W. and Barbara Bush started attending, they were a congregation of just a few hundred worshipers. 

Following the service at St. Martin’s, Mrs. Bush’s body will be taken to the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M in College Station.  The motorcade will pass through Houston’s Memorial Park along the way, so the public can pay their respects.

A private burial service will take place on the grounds of the presidential library. The Bushes’ daughter Pauline Robinson, known to the family as Robin, is already buried at the site. Robin died of leukemia in 1953, just before her fourth birthday.


The public was invited to say their final farewells to the former first lady on Friday, and Mrs. Bush lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church from noon until midnight. Thousands of people waited their turn to say farewell and pay their respects to a woman fondly known as “everybody’s grandmother.” 

Many of the women who came to pay their respects wore Barbara Bush's favorite color, blue, and strands of pearls in tribute to Mrs. Bush's trademark piece of jewelry.

Photo credit: Getty Images

George H.W. Bush spontaneously made an appearance inside the church, greeting mourners who stood in line to pay their respects. Later, his office released a photo of the former President sitting at the front of her casket, with his daughter, Doro, standing behind his wheelchair. 

Photo credit: Office of George H.W. Bush, via Getty Images

Photo credit: Office of George H.W. Bush, via Getty Images

On Thursday night, the city of Houston paid tribute to Mrs. Bush and her impact on the community in a celebration of life event outside city hall. 

The George Bush Presidential Library has set up a condolence book in the rotunda, alongside several displays of photos and mementos.  Members of the public have been streaming through to sign the book and pay their respects to the family.

In lieu of flowers, the Bush family has suggested that donations be made to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which works to boost literacy among parents and children.