First Lady Melania Trump will attend the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush Saturday. President Trump is not expected to attend. The funeral is by invitation only and will be performed at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. The Bushes are longtime members of the church, having joined in 1964. Before tongues start clucking, it should be noted that it is not unusual that President Trump isn’t going.
It is common for sitting first ladies to attend the funerals of former first ladies, as Michelle Obama did in 2016 for the funeral in California of former first lady Nancy Reagan. Then-first lady Hillary Clinton attended the burial of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994. Both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton will attend Bush’s funeral, sources told CNN, along with their husbands.
The Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson Jr., the rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, said that years ago when he and former first lady Barbara Bush started talking about funeral arrangements, she would often joke that she didn’t think they’d be able to fill the church.
From the lessons to the music, everything was discussed at length and carefully planned out.
“There was no negotiating, not that I had any problems with anything she would have suggested. Once she suggested it and once we dropped into the service format, it was pretty clear what she wanted,” Levenson said.
The other celebrant will be the rector of St. Anne’s in Kennebunkport, Maine. He was Bush’s summer priest.
Houston is in mourning. The loss of Mrs. Bush is felt by political and non-political Houstonians, Republicans and Democrats, young and old. Visitation will be open to the public Friday from noon to midnight. Due to security concerns and parking, arrangements have been made for visitors to park and be screened in the parking lot of another church and ride by bus to St. Martin’s.
For the funeral Saturday, 1,500 guests are expected. Then the funeral procession will travel from Houston to College Station where she will be buried next to the Bush’s deceased daughter, Robin, on the grounds of the George H.W.Bush Presidential Library.
Across the city Wednesday, women wore pearls in remembrance of Mrs. Bush, known for the fake pearls ever present in her wardrobe. She was loved as everyone’s mom or grandmother. She and the former president are truly cherished here. Several events are planned to celebrate the life of Barbara Bush.
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She will be missed.