“I once heard it said of man that ‘the idea is to die young as late as possible.’ At age 85, a favorite pastime of George H.W. Bush was firing up his boat, the Fidelity, and opening up the three 300 horsepower engines to fly — joyfully fly — across the Atlantic, with Secret Service boats straining to keep up. At 90, George H.W. Bush parachuted out of an aircraft and landed on the grounds of St. Ann’s by the Sea in Kennebunkport, Maine. … In his 90s, he took great delight when his closest pal, James A. Baker, smuggled a bottle of Grey Goose vodka into his hospital room. Apparently, it paired well with the steak Baker had delivered from Morton’s. To his very last days, Dad’s life was instructive. As he aged, he taught us how to grow old with dignity, humor, and kindness — and, when the good Lord finally called, how to meet him with courage and with joy in the promise of what lies ahead. One reason Dad knew how to die young is that he almost did it — twice. When he was a teenager, a staph infection nearly took his life. A few years later he was alone in the Pacific on a life raft, praying that his rescuers would find him before the enemy did. God answered those prayers. It turned out he had other plans for George H.W. Bush. For Dad’s part, I think those brushes with death made him cherish the gift of life. And he vowed to live every day to the fullest. … And once confined to a wheelchair, he seemed happiest sitting in his favorite perch on the back porch at Walker’s Point contemplating the majesty of the Atlantic. The horizons he saw were bright and hopeful. … Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary; that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values, like faith and family. He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which one lived. He recognized that serving others enriched the giver’s soul. To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light. In victory, he shared credit. When he lost, he shouldered the blame. He accepted that failure is part of living a full life, but taught us never to be defined by failure. He showed us how setbacks can strengthen. None of his

disappointments could compare with one of life’s greatest tragedies, the loss of a young child. Jeb and I were too young to remember the pain and agony he and Mom felt when our 3-year-old sister died. We only learned later that Dad, a man of quiet faith, prayed for her daily. … Dad always believed that one day he would hug his precious Robin again. He loved to laugh, especially at himself. He could tease and needle, but never out of malice. … George Bush knew how to be a true and loyal friend. He honored and nurtured his many friendships with his generous and giving soul. … He taught us that a day was not meant to be wasted. … He was born with just two settings: full throttle, then sleep. … Last Friday, when I was told he had minutes to live, I called him. The guy who answered the phone said, ‘I think he can hear you, but hasn’t said anything most of the day.’ I said, ‘Dad, I love you, and you’ve been a wonderful father.’ And the last words he would ever say on Earth were, ‘I love you, too.’ … Finally, every day of his 73 years of marriage, Dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband. … After Mom died, Dad was strong, but all he really wanted to do was to hold Mom’s hand, again. Of course, Dad taught me another special lesson. He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage, and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country. … In his Inaugural Address, the 41st president of the United States said this: ‘We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it. What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?’ Well, Dad — we’re going remember you for exactly that and so much more. … And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”