By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) — University of Colorado President Bruce Benson and his wife Marcy are among those invited to President George H.W. Bush’s private family funeral in Texas. Their friendship with the President and First Lady Barbara Bush dates back nearly 40 years.
In some ways, President Bush is what brought the Bensons together. They were working for the President separately when their paths crossed.
“The first time that we were with the Bushes as a couple, as opposed to them knowing us separately, and we were going through a receiving line,” said Marcy. “then we got to the President and he says, ‘Marcy is this a serious matro thing?’ as in matrimonial. I have no idea what I said but I just thought it was a great question. I think I said yes.”
Over the years, they became close friends with the president and first lady.
“He and Barbara Bush cared so much about everybody who worked for them and they knew them and they knew their names,” Marcy said.
They recalled the president’s kindness, loyalty and integrity, describing him as funny and friendly, unpretentious and unselfish.
“I just think he was an honest, caring guy and what irritates me most is people who don’t tell the truth and I think whatever he would tell you is exactly what he thought was the truth at the time,” said Bruce. “When he broke the promise ‘read my lips’ (no new taxes) he knew this is what’s important for the country and I’m going to do this and I’m going to take some heat over this.”
Bruce helped with Bush’s Points of Light Foundation that promotes volunteerism.
“It recognized the goodness in people and I think that just sort-of tells you all you need to know about George Bush because he was truly was recognizing the goodness in people,” Bruce said.
They also recalled the president’s humility.
“He did tell Bruce once, you learn a lot more when you lose than when you win,” said Marcy. “With him, the more you learned about his private side, the more you liked him and it doesn’t always work that way.”
Bruce agreed saying, “We’ll miss him.”
The Bensons also talked about President Bush’s legacy, including a peaceful end to the cold war, reunification of Germany, victory in the first Gulf War, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, they will remember him most as someone who left the world a better place and who was a good friend.