Memories of President George H.W. Bush

My husband’s family joins the nation in mourning the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush. We also grieved with the family when Barbara, his wife of 73 years, died in June of this year.

York County residents have had a neighborly friendship with the family of deceased President George H.W. Bush and his late wife Barbara. Their multiple generations of presence, as residents of Walker’s Point, in Kennebunkport, created a close bond between their families and the surrounding communities.  Even people who didn’t personally know the family were proudly aware of their civic patriotism, and the good will they extended towards neighbors in Kennebunkport, Kennebunk and the surrounding York County communities.

Vice-President George H.W. Bush 1984

George H.W.Bush as vice-president in 1984, in Kennebunkport. (L’Heureux photograph)

My husband was born and raised in Sanford, Maine. After retiring from the U.S. Navy, we moved to his hometown where I took a freelance job writing for The Sanford News. It was during this time, in 1984, when I first met then Vice President George H.W.Bush, when he attended a reception for the Republican Congressman David Emery, who was running for the U.S. Senate.

Yet, the most heartwarming and somewhat historic story I can share about President Bush is described in an article about his youthful college baseball years, when he played for the York County Collegiate team, while he was a student at Yale.

A Franco-American gentleman named Norman Foucher, from Biddeford, shared his personal experience about playing against the Yale college student George Bush, where they competed on opposing teams. It has been an honor to share the article in several publications and the Goose River Anthology essay about the experience was accepted into the Bush Library, as an article about presidential trivia.

George Bush Library

Another Baseball Story was accepted as presidential trivia because of documentation available in York County newspapers. (L’Heureux photograph)

“Norman Faucher was only 14 years old on September 7, 1947, when he came face to face with the young President George Bush, Sr., who played first base for the summer Collegians team in Maine’s York County Twilight League.  ‘He told me I was pretty young to play baseball’, Faucher recalls.  ‘I never dreamed he’d become president of the United States’, he says.  Newspaper accounts covered the game between Faucher’s team, the Biddeford St. Andre’s Apostles, versus the Kennebunkport Collegians, and reported the victory was a 21- 3 rout, with victory going to Faucher’s Apostles. Nonetheless, future President Bush had a good night, with game stats of three hits for three times at bat.”

My husband’s family is particularly grateful for how President George H.W..Bush and his wife Barbara included several of the great-nephews  into their group of personal assistants. As a result of this extraordinary friendship, my husband and I were honored to be included as wedding guests in two family nuptials ceremonies, attended by the President and Mrs. Bush.

Over the years, President Bush sent several of his lovely letters to the nephews on special occasions, especially when their children were born or on birthdays.

When I asked if the President would sign a baseball for a good friend of mine whose mother was chronically ill, the request was granted. In fact, President Bush sent a note, afterward, to acknowledge that he was, indeed, the person who autographed the baseball.

Attending the funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington DC

Three of my husband’s great-nephews attending the funeral of President George H.W.Bush from left William Frechette (Major USAF), Jim Frechette and Tom Frechette with colleague Michael Dannenhauer, at the National Cathedral in Washington DC.

Of the delegation from Maine who were invited to attend the December 5, funeral ceremonies for President Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington DC,. four of those were members of my husband’s family. They were Jim Frechette, Tom Frechette, William Frechette (Major USAF) and Coleman Lapointe.

We will always be grateful to President Bush and his family for their generous friendship with my husband’s family.

Juliana L'Heureux

About Juliana L'Heureux

Juliana L’Heureux is a free lance writer who publishes news, blogs and articles about Franco-Americans and the French culture. She has written about the culture in weekly and bi-weekly articles, for the past 27 years.