One of former President George H.W. Bush’s grandsons remembers him as a “kind and decent” man who always thought of others – even in recent weeks when his health was failing.
"I knew from a very early age that there was something unique and different and special about my grandfather, the man I called 'Gampy,’” Pierce Bush said.
The younger Bush spoke with NBC 5 before leaving Houston for services in the nation’s capital.
Pierce Bush was just two years old when his grandfather was elected president.
"My grandfather really was and will forever be the leader of our family, the bright light everybody held up,” he said. “Take away the public accomplishments, my grandfather is one of the most kind and decent men that has ever lived on this Earth."
Kind and decent, he said, with a competitive spirit and a sense of humor -- and always thinking of others.
"As his health was kind of fading, I can't think of a time where I didn't walk in there and say, 'Hey Gampy,' and he would respond with 'Hey Piercy, what's new?'" he said.
Pierce Bush lives in Houston and serves as director of Big Brothers Big Sisters. His work often takes him to North Texas, he said.
He remembered being with his grandfather a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving.
"He was fully there mentally, fully there, even though his body was weak,” Pierce Bush said. “But he pulled out his favorite hymnal all the sudden and started singing. He would go and look at every person. And you could tell he was thinking who they were at the table but he was there 100 percent."
Pierce Bush's last memory of his grandfather was at his bedside Friday night.
"When he finally realized his body was giving up, he was ready to go,” he said. "It was such a clear moment that you could tell his soul was no longer there. It was clear and evident."
Even knowing the end was near, he said the former president was thinking about others, not himself.
"He had every reason to be complaining about the pain he was in,” Pierce Bush said. “But always, even to the last day, to Friday, he was asking questions about how other people were. And everybody would respond and tell him, 'We love you Gampy. We love you so much.' And he would always respond with, 'I love you more.'”
And those were the last words Pierce Bush said his Gampy spoke to him.