George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, speaks in 1991 during a fundraiser in Dallas.
Marcy Nighswander / AP
Bush is pictured with his sister Mercy in 1929.
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Bush served in the US Navy from 1943-1945. He was the youngest pilot of the navy during World War II.
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Bush married Barbara Pierce in 1945. They had six children and were married for 73 years.
Bush made a fortune as president of Zapata Off-Shore Oil Co in the 1950s.
Bush celebrates after winning the US House for the 7th District of Texas in 1966.
Ed Kolenovsky / AP
Bush joined Ronald Reagan in 1980 for the GOP presidential nomination, but lost. Reagan chose him as his vice president.
Charles Tasnadi / AP
Bush and his wife Barbara wave to a victorious party after defeating Democrat Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Bush and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev hold a message from July 1991 conference in Moscow announcing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Mike Fisher / AFP / Getty Images
The bushes share the stage with Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn, at the Republican National Congress in August 1992.
Paul J. Richards / AFP / Getty Images
Bush admits the presidential election for Democrat Bill Clinton in November 1992.
Bob Daemmrich / AFP / Getty Images
Bush attends the opening parade for his son, newly elected President George W. Bush in January 2001. Laura Bush, wife of George W., is on the left.
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Bush (center below) performs a tandem parachute jump with Army Golden Knight Sgt. Bryan Schnell 2004 on the Bush Presidential Library at College Station, Texas. Bush made two jumps to celebrate his 80th birthday.
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Father and son beckons to the crowd before the Texas Rangers line up the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
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Bush endorses Massachusetts Massachusetts Massachusetts Massachusetts president for 2012.
Larry W. Smith / EPA / Landov
Updated at 12:15 ET
George H.W. Bush was the definition of founding success: Yale graduate. Successful business career. Forty-first President of the United States.
But for an admittedly biased observer, the older Bush had always come up short.
"As a result of a one-year president, historians had not received much attention," said George W. Bush in an interview with NPR. He called his father "one of the greatest presidents with a tenure in the history of the country."
George Herbert Walker Bush died Friday at the age of 94.
" George HW Bush was a man of the highest character and the best father a son or daughter could ask for, " he said. "The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for the life and love of 41, for the compassion of those who have looked after Papa and for the sympathy of our friends and fellow citizens."
After his wife, there were fears that Barbara died in April, Bush could die as well. He was hospitalized on April 23, one day after the funeral of the former First Lady, and stayed there for 13 days. In May and June, he also spent some time in the hospital, but lived as the first former president at the age of 94 years. Bush was the patriarch of a political dynasty that included a son serving as president, another as president-governor and a grandson currently holding a nationwide office in Texas.
Charles Tasnadi / AP
The elder Bush had spent a lifetime in public service before becoming president – as a young World War II naval pilot, the Texas Congressman was CIA director and loyal vice president of Ronald Reagan.
"His loyalty to Ronald Reagan was legendary," said biographer Timothy Naftali. "He did not always agree with Ronald Reagan, and he was so secretive about the moments he did not agree, we do not even have a good documentary – at least not yet available – when he disagreed."
Bush Disagreed Reagan's appearance in the Republican primary election of 1980 denounced Reagan's belief that the government could lower its tax rates without losing revenue as a "voodoo economic policy".
History would prove this assessment correct. Later Reagan had to lift some tax cuts in the face of growing deficits. By the time Bush made his way to Reagan, he knew what it takes to win the confidence of conservative Republicans.
"Read my lips," Bush promised at the GOP assembly of 1988. "No new taxes."
Bush beat Democrat Michael Dukakis the same year to win the White House. In the end, however, he went back to his lip-reading promise. During the budget negotiations with democratic congressional leaders in 1990, Bush and Reagan agreed to a tax hike.
J. David Ake / AFP / Getty Images
His press secretary Marlin Fitzwater recalled a budget meeting on which the deal was presented.
"When I saw it, I looked around the table and the Democrats looked like the cat that ate the canary," said Fitzwater. "They knew they had negotiated a winner."
The tax increase lowered the deficit, but it cost Bush the Conservatives. Years later, he received a courageous profile from John F. Kennedy's grandson, who said, "America's gain was the loss of President Bush."
Bush's most notable achievements in the White House came in the field of foreign affairs. While Reagan often had the victory of the Cold War, it was Bush who successfully mastered the aftermath. His inconspicuous approach avoided the inflammation of communist hardliners and enabled the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union.
"The soft landing, which was not inevitable, is largely due to the diplomacy of George HW Bush," he told Naftali.
Bush, who served as US envoy in China and was vice president of the world, had a thick Rolodex and a lot of experience with the phones. His lifelong foreign contacts were also practical when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in 1990. Bush methodically gathered an international coalition to fight back.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
A five-week bombing raid was followed by a 100-hour ground attack that took Iraqis away from Kuwait. Some wanted Allied forces to invade Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein. But Bush said no.
"The president's decision was that we would not travel to Baghdad," recalls the late diplomat Lawrence Eagleburger. "If so, we have violated the agreement with our allies that Saddam should release from Kuwait, it was not meant to break Saddam, and we will be in an area where we can not be sure how soon we can retire. "
Ron Edmonds / AP
Bush's son George W. would revisit this decision a dozen years later with costly results.
The first Gulf War was a clear victory for the US armed forces. As Commander-in-Chief George H.W. Bush saw his approval almost 90 percent. His second term seemed so firmly anchored that many national Democrats had decided to take over the 1992 elections and leave it to the governor of a small southern state to challenge him.
But Bill Clinton had one big advantage: the economy, stupid. As the country sank into recession, Bush's popularity declined. This time there was no parachute or soft landing. In the November elections, he lost a three-way race with only 38 percent of the vote.
More than two decades later, George W. Bush, who had witnessed his own roller coaster ride in the polls, wrote a loving portrait of His Father 41.
"I want people George Bush, because he is not only a great person, but also a very successful president, "said the younger Bush.
Bush was also the linchpin of a political dynasty that now includes four generations – including a second son, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who ran for the White House and lost in the 2016 Republican primaries Donald Trump became the dominant force in a far advanced GOP from where it was when the 41st President was in office.
Regardless of the political shortcomings of the high-ranking Bush, the retrospective has cast its presidency in a friendlier, softer light.