As America honors the late President George H.W. Bush, people in the Coastal Bend are also reflecting on his life.
President Bush and Melvyn Klein met as board members at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a cause close to the President’s heart after losing his daughter to leukemia when she was only three years old.
“I was honored and privileged to get to know someone who I believe was one of the outstanding people of our time, as well as a really good friend and an exceptional person,” Klein said.
Klein spent multiple summers vacationing at President Bush’s home in Maine.
“He was supposed to be my tennis partner, and he sprained his ankle that morning so he wasn’t able to play. But he arranged a substitute for my doubles partner and he and Barbara Bush watched the match and had some select comments afterward,” Klein said.
He wrote frequent columns for the local newspaper, and once stumped by writer’s block, his good friend and the President of the United States gave him some handwritten inspiration.
“The subject was all related to the importance of values and character, and friendship and family and how that was preeminent in his own value system,” Klein said.
That memoir from the President still hangs in Klein’s hallway today.
“There aren’t going to be many President Bush 41’s around. People of real accomplishment, ability and humanity and humility,” Klein said.