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Texans line up overnight to bid farewell to George H.W. Bush


After the body of former President George H.W. Bush arrived back from Washington on Wednesday, Texans lined up by the thousands outside a Houston church, eager to pay their final respects.

The casket of the nation’s 41st president, who died last week at age 94, was on view at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where his family worshipped and where services for former first lady Barbara Bush were held after she died in April.

During the night, the line into the church moved slowly — halting whenever mourners stopped in front of the casket to cross themselves or otherwise acknowledge Bush.

Jim McGrath, the Bush family spokesman, said about 5,000 people had passed through the Secret Service security checkpoint for the repose, with wait times under an hour.

Earlier Wednesday, the first people in line arrived in the morning, almost 10 hours before the church was scheduled to open to visitors.

Pennie Werth-Bobian, 56, of Tomball, was at the front of the line. She said that she used to visit with Bush while a friend of hers cut his hair and that they became friends. She said the second time they met, he told her to call him George.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH’S CASKET ARRIVES IN HOUSTON EN ROUTE TO FINAL RESTING PLACE

Jennifer Dawson worked for the 41st president when his son George W. Bush was president, she told Fox 26 Houston.

“He was the most wonderful father and husband and he just loved his family,” she said. “He was absolutely the most down-to-earth, real-life person I’ve ever met in my life.”

Jan Robertson, a U.S. history teacher at George Bush High School, told the Houston Chronicle that she began teaching during the elder Bush’s presidency and has kept tabs on the Bush family ever since.

“They’re the type of people I wish more people were like,” Robertson said. “They talked about giving back to society and service.”

Texan Maria Lourdres Torres told the Chronicle that she rushed home from work to say goodbye to the president. She said she spent hours waiting for her chance to pay respects.

A funeral service will be held at the church Thursday morning, where about 1,200 mourners are expected to attend.

A special train will then take the casket to the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, where Bush will be buried at his presidential library next to his wife, Barbara, and their young daughter Robin, who died in 1953.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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