From the Chairman’s Desk:
George H.W. Bush – Consummate Gentleman and Close Friend of the Montgomery County GOP
The passing of former President George H. W. Bush reminded me of just what a consummate gentleman and close friend of the Republican Party in Montgomery County he was. After becoming the Harris County Republican Party Chairman shortly after his move from Midland to Houston in 1962, Bush answered a call from the fledging Montgomery County Republican Party to appear for the first ever fundraiser in the county in 1963. He, along with his wife Barbara, came to Conroe and spoke of the future of the Party in Texas and Montgomery County before a “crowd” of about twenty-five brave Republicans.
He later returned for fundraisers in 1969 and 1979 and remained “encourager in chief” over the intervening years to me and the Party. A special relationship with Bush, the County Party and the County Chairman ensued. At the risk of sounding as a braggart, I want to share an experience I had with Bush that showed just what a kind and caring gentleman he was. It involves a World War II veteran, a resident of Montgomery County, named “Red” Reynolds. Reynolds served on the Navy’s USS Cruiser Houston at the beginning of the war. It was attacked and sunk by Japanese aircraft. Reynolds survived the attack but spent the remainder of the war as a Prisoner of the Japanese.
“Red” returned home to become the Montgomery County Veterans Contact Officer. He was a devoted Officer who looked after the interests of veterans. During Vice-President Bush’s term along with President Ronald Reagan’s, the Navy Department oversaw the construction of a vessel that was named after the Cruiser Houston. Bush was chosen to christen the new vessel Houston, and all of the surviving members of the Cruiser Houston were invited to attend the event. As Reynolds stood in a line of survivors, Vice-President Bush individually greeted each of them.
According to Reynolds, who later shared the conversation with County Chairman Dr. Wally Wilkerson, Bush greeted him and inquired where he lived. “Red” proudly answered: “Texas, Conroe, Texas.” As part of Bush’s response he said: “Tell my friend Wally Wilkerson hello.” Both Reynolds and I were surprised, but since then I have concluded this was not out of character for George H. W. Bush. He always made friendships paramount. Thanks Mr. President for your service and kindness! You richly deserve to rest in peace.