SCV officials react to death of former President George H.W. Bush

In this photo from Jo Anne Darcy's collection, courtesy of, then-President George HW Bush visits the opening of the North County Correctional Facility. Bush died Friday at age 94.

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died Friday. He was 94.

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died,” read a statement tweeted out from former President George W. Bush. “George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have  cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

Bush served as president of the United States of America from 1989 to 1993.

Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste praised the former president, who visited the Santa Clarita Valley during his term, when reached by phone Friday evening.

“George H.W. Bush was a remarkable man, a very strong man,” Weste said. “He was supportive of his nation, his country, and he held his head high.”

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Santa Clarita, also expressed gratitude for Bush’s military service and leadership when reached Friday evening:

“President Bush was a great leader, a great patriot, a World War II aviator and a great leader in our time,” Knight said. “I will always remember President Bush as someone who carried the dignity of the office at a high level and always remained a patriot throughout his life.”

Former Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon  said he was honored when, as a newly elected freshman congressman, he was able to visit the White House as a guest of President Bush. And, years later, he was able to pose for a photo with both George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush, when the younger Bush signed a reauthorization of a bill originally signed by the elder Bush.

McKeon described Bush as a very warm, genuine man:  “He had the persona of being soft, and he was far from soft. He was a war hero and he was a great man,” McKeon said.

Bush visited the Santa Clarita Valley as president on March 1, 1990, for the opening of the North County Correctional Facility, according to an entry from “Surrounded by a couple of dozen unarmed deputies and a smattering of Secret Service agents, President George H.W. Bush and L.A. County Sheriff Sherman Block cut the ribbon to the North County Correctional Facility (NCCF), the newest of four county jail facilities in Castaic, before a crowd of approximately 2,000 dignitaries,” according to the entry authored by Leon Worden, president of SCVTV.

Signal Editor Tim Whyte contributed to this report.

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