Houston service commemorates life of former First Lady Barbara Bush

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Barbara Pierce Bush was remembered Saturday as a loyal and devoted wife, stern but affectionate mother, good-humored friend and authentic first lady at a funeral attended by four former presidents including her husband and son. Numerous women wore the former first lady's favorite color, blue, and trademark pearls.

Mr Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography on her husband, joined 1,500 people on a rainy day to honour the wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd. Bush's life; Baker cited it as a source of her compassion during her life. Eight of her grandsons will serve as pallbearers. Brett Coomer/Pool via ReutersFirst Lady Melania Trump arrives at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for funeral services for former first lady Barbara Bush in Houston, Texas, U.S., April 21, 2018.

"Here in Houston, we saw her at major galas, behind home plate at Astros games, praying here in the pews, catching up with a neighbor while pushing her own buggy in Walgreens", he said.

Some 1,500 guests filled St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston for the service.

Meacham spoke to hundreds of people attending the funeral Saturday for the former first lady in Houston.

During the ceremony, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) delivered a eulogy and called his mom their "first and most important teacher". Bush sat at the head of a political dynasty that has defined both Texas and American politics for decades before her death on Tuesday at the age of 92.

Susan Baker, the wife of James Baker who served as secretary of state under former President George H.W. Bush., also paid tribute to her longtime friend, Barbara Bush, whom she called "Bar". The Barbara Bush Foundation helps increase awareness of the literacy crisis in America.

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Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama greet first lady Melania Trump at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for the funeral service in Houston.

In another tribute, Susan Baker, the wife of former Secretary of State James Baker and Bush's longtime friend and confidante, called her a "vibrantly lovely human being".

First Lady Melania Trump attended but her husband President Donald Trump did not, with the White House saying his decision to stay in Washington was taken "to avoid disruptions due to added security".

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady, were unable to attend; a spokeswoman said that Jimmy Carter would be on a private trip overseas and that Rosalynn Carter was recovering from recent surgery. Bush's only living daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch, could be seen with her arm around her father. She will be laid to rest next to her daughter Robin, who died of leukemia when she was three years old. Bush's body 90 miles northwest to the George Bush Presidential Library Center on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station. Bush at the vice president's residence for a women's luncheon back in 1985.

Before Barbara Bush died, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thanked her for "her many kindnesses to me and my family".

After seeing how many people had lined up to pay their respects to his wife, former President George H.W. Bush made a decision to attend - he sat at the front of the church in a wheelchair, offering his hand and smiled as people shook it, for about 15 minutes.

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