The life and times of President George H.W. Bush

We take a look back at the legacy of our 41st president from his time in office to more personal moments.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton Massachusetts to Prescott Bush, an investment banker and senator and Dorothy (Walker) Bush.

June 12, 1924

On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. He was the youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings and he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.

June 12, 1942

While on leave from the Navy, Bush married Barbara Pierce. The couple had met as teenagers at a dance. They went on to have six children– George, Robin (who died as a child), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy.

January 1945

After completing his military service in 1945, Bush enrolled at Yale University, where he studied economics. He moved his family to Texas where he establishes the Bush-Overbey Oil Development Company with John Overbey.


Bush built a prosperous career in the oil industry, eventually becoming president of an independent offshore oil drilling company Zapata Petroleum with William and Hugh Liedtke.


He won a seat in the US Senate as the Representative from Texas' 7th District.


Bush was appointed Director of the CIA by President Gerald R. Ford.

January 1976-1977

Is sworn in as vice president of the United States. In 1980, Bush ran for the Republican presidential nomination but lost to Ronald Reagan. The former actor and governor of California selected Bush as his vice-presidential running mate, and the two defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale in the general election.

January 20, 1981

Bush is elected 41st president of the United States, with 53.1% of the popular vote and 426 electoral votes.

November 8, 1988

Operation Desert Storm begins. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait, Bush rallied the United Nations, the U. S. people, and Congress and sent 425,000 American troops. They were joined by 118,000 troops from allied nations. After weeks of air and missile bombardment, the 100-hour land battle dubbed Desert Storm routed Iraq’s million-man army.

January 16, 1991

Bush lost the presidential election to Bill Clinton.

November 3, 1992

Celebrates his 75th birthday by skydiving. He celebrates his 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays the same way.

June 9, 1999

After Hurricane Katrina, Presidents Bush and Clinton form the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

September 1, 2005

Bush is hospitalized due to bronchitis.

November 17-19, 2012

Bush is hospitalized for what aides describe as a precautionary measure after he experiences shortness of breath.

December 23-30, 2014

Is hospitalized due to "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia." Barbara Bush is admitted to the hospital four days later after "experiencing fatigue and coughing."

January 14, 2017

Barbara Bush, the widely admired wife of President George H. W. Bush passed away at their home in Houston. They were married for 73 years.

April 17, 2018

Is admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital after contracting an infection that spread to his blood, a day after the funeral was held for his wife, Barbara.

April 25, 2018

The 93-year-old former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized in Maine after he experienced low blood pressure and fatigue.

May 27, 2018