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Michiana community members remember President George H.W. Bush

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Tonight ,the Michiana community is mourning the loss of former president George H.W. Bush. 

The 41st commander in chief visited Notre Dame’s campus for commencement, the Special Olympics, a campaign stop, and twice to support the Fighting Irish at home.

All of these visits playing a part in why former Notre Dame President Father Edward R. Malloy considered Bush a dear friend.

“I felt like I got to know him as a person, as well as president,” Malloy said. “I would describe President Bush as somebody that you could take anywhere.”

Today, Father Malloy stopped to reflect on Bush’s connection to the university, speaking at commencement in 1992 and making four other visits to Notre Dame, more than any other president.

“He was generous when he came to Notre Dame, he gave a fine talk, the graduates were very pleased to have him here, and as a result – he’s a Notre Dame Graduate!” Malloy recalled of the late president.

At that ceremony, Father Malloy presented Bush with an honorary doctors of law degree. But the commencement is just one occasion the former president touched lives in Michiana.

“It was the spring of 1986,” Marilyn Peterson of Saint Joseph, Mich. recalled.

Peterson met H.W. Bush in Kalamazoo, Mich. on a campaign stop when he was running for president. 

“He changed my total opinion of him I always thought he was a rather structured, not a cordial and warm person and he was just the opposite,” Peterson said.

 Since meeting Bush in ’86, Peterson has had a photo framed of her and her daughter posing with the former president displayed in her home for over 30 years. 

She’s one of many in our area that share fond memories with the 41st president.

“There are two Presidents that will always be close to me. One was Gerald Ford and one was President Bush,” Peterson said.

“I feel sad in a sense that we lost someone close to Notre Dame,” Malloy said.

If you have any memories from former president H.W. Bush’s many visits to Michiana, please share them with us via Facebook or send us an email at news57@abc57.com.

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