Modern funerals can be tailored to fit a unique personality and honor the unique life that was lived. Recently, there have been some wonderful examples of this in the funerals of public figures: notably, former first lady Barbara Bush who passed away in April.
Although she never held office, the legacy of family she leaves behind is extremely powerful. Her longstanding marriage to President George H.W. Bush has been well documented. He was her first kiss, and their 73-year marriage —the longest of any presidential couple — produced four sons and two daughters. Having lost a daughter to leukemia in childhood, the family pushed through this tragedy and went on to be one of the most powerful families in the United States. While first lady, Bush worked tirelessly to promote the cause of literacy, and at her funeral, her husband wore socks with books on them as an acknowledgment of the work that was so important to her.
Barbara Bush was a beloved public figure, so it’s not surprising there was so much interest in her memorialization. A public visitation was attended by nearly 8,000 people, with many wearing blue, Bush’s favorite color. The funeral was attended by 1,500 guests, including heads of states, dignitaries, former US presidents and first ladies, and the current first lady, Melania Trump. Political differences were set aside as people came together to honor a woman who was well respected by all.
The service itself was touching and planned to perfectly reflect the life she lived. Held at her home church, St. Martin’s Episcopal in Houston, it featured a choir singing My Country Tis of Thee. Bush’s pastor spoke, as did her son, Jeb, who read a love letter she’d once received from her husband, George. There were also eulogies by her biographer and a longtime friend. There were tears as well as laughter as family and friends recalled the former first lady’s good-natured humor.
During the service, an ivory pall graced her casket. At the viewing and after the service, it was adorned with a large spray of her favorite flowers, including pink and yellow roses, snapdragons and hydrangeas. Her eight grandsons were pallbearers, and the final song of the service was Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, sung by the congregation. Bush was laid to rest in a gated plot at her husband’s presidential library at Texas A&M University, just outside Houston.
Not every funeral will be as elaborate as Barbara Bush’s, but each can be tailored to honor the unique life that was lived. At Mountain View, we’re happy to help you preplan your end-of-life services. Call 253.948.9895 today to make an appointment with a preplanning advisor, or visit our website for your free preplanning guide.