Morrell Park woman recalls Bush’s kindness

Elizabeth Decker received a letter of condolence from George H.W. Bush after her daughter died in a car accident.

Morrell Park’s Elizabeth Decker watched much of the television coverage of the passing of George H.W. Bush, enjoying all the stories of the good deeds done by the former president over the years.

Decker can vouch for Bush’s goodness.

Back in 1984, she lost her 19-year-old daughter, Mary Elizabeth, in a car accident.

Ann Renee Todd, Decker’s niece, was a young aide to Bush, who was in his first of two terms as vice president in ‘84. Todd, who now works for the FBI, requested off to attend her cousin’s funeral. Bush granted the request and sent a letter to Decker’s Morrell Avenue home.

The letter, dated Feb. 17, 1984, read, “Dear Mrs. Decker, Our prayers are with you in your great loss. Your niece, Ann, speaks of your strength with admiration and affection. We know you would be pleased with Ann’s important contributions to our staff. Barbara and I join in our deepest condolences. Our heart goes out to you.”

“It was heartwarming for me,” Decker said of receiving the letter. “I was in such mourning. It just touched me, a busy man, vice president of the United States, to take time out. He was one of a kind.”

Decker believes Bush wrote the letter, in part, because he knew the pain of losing a child. George and Barbara Bush lost their 3-year-old daughter, Robin, to leukemia in 1953

Decker said she is considering contacting the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, in College Station, Texas, to see if it wants the original letter for its collection. Bush was buried on the library grounds last Thursday.

Meanwhile, elected officials were remembering Bush.

Mayor Jim Kenney released the following statement:

“I am sad to learn of the passing of President George H.W. Bush. While I didn’t always agree with his policies, specifically around the AIDS epidemic and the failed war on drugs, there is no denying his love for our country displayed over decades of service. May his leadership and willingness to serve be an example for us all – and may his loved ones find peace during this difficult time.”

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey released the following statement:

“President George H.W. Bush was a great American patriot, dedicated public servant, tireless humanitarian and a caring family man. Kris and I join the nation in mourning President Bush’s passing and send our condolences to his family.” ••

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