West Texans share stories of President George H. W. Bush's life in the Permian Basin

MIDLAND -- President George H. W. Bush died Friday at the age of 94. The President and his family made the Permian Basin their home for several years.

The house at 1412 W. Ohio Avenue in Midland is where Bush and his wife Barbara raised their children, including future president George W. Bush.

Today people came from around the country to the George Bush Childhood Home to express their condolences on a banner that will be sent to the Bush family.

During his time in Midland in the 1950s, Bush grew his small oil company into a major petroleum corporation.

“His oil businesses were very profitable,” George W. Bush Childhood Home executive director Paul St. Hilaire said. “It allowed him to provide the type of life he wanted for his family, and also take a run at the presidency.”

But his years here were not without hardship. The Bush’s 3-year-old daughter Robin died of leukemia in 1953. Still, Bush did not let tragedy change him.

“He espoused the values that we all really long to aspire to,” St. Hilaire said. “Love of God. Love of country. And love of his family.”

Bush Sr. was very involved in the community. He founded Midland’s YMCA, served on the PTA for George W’s elementary school, and taught Sunday classes at First Presbyterian Church.

Bush also helped change the political landscape of Texas.
“When they first moved out here Texas was very Democratic.” St. Hilaire said. They worked very hard to grow the Republican Party while they were here in Midland.”

Even when he reached the Oval Office, Bush never forgot where he came from.

“Both he and George W. throughout their lives invited several of their Midland friends to the White House during their times as president,” St. Hilaire said. “They really gave a sense that once you got to know them, that you would be lifelong friends.”

George H. W. Bush, a friend to West Texas who is sure to be remembered.