George Strait set an NRG Stadium attendance record at his concert on March 24, but two seats were empty.
According to KTRK, the seats were engraved for George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. Flowers were left in Barbara’s chair.
The former president and first lady were not only Houston residents, but they were also lifelong supporters of the Houston Rodeo.
“They had a very special relationship with some of the entertainers, Reba McEntire and Brad Paisley in particular. And when Reba or Brad would play they’d usually come in advance of the show and sit down and visit with them. And then they would enjoy seats right beside the bucking chute,” Rodeo Houston President Joel Cowley told KTRK.
Barbara Bush died in April of last year. The former first lady passed away in April 2018 at the age of 92. Her death prompted a slew of public tributes from family and friends, including a particularly moving statement from granddaughter Jenna Hager.
Hager took to Instagram to write: “I already miss this FORCE of a woman— the ‘enforcer’ because she was the glue that held our family together. She taught me to use my voice but also to value the opinions of others.”
Former President George W. Bush also paid tribute to his mother, sharing this sweet photo of the two of them, along with a touching caption. It read in part, “Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was.”
Seven months after his wife’s death, George H.W. Bush also passed away. The former president died in December 2018 at the age of 94. Several memorials were held in the wake of his passing, including one at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, and a second service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
The late president was carried to his final resting place, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, via a locomotive dubbed the “Bush 4141.” The Bush 4141 is a rare locomotive that was commissioned to honor the former president in 2005. It’s one of only a handful of Union Pacific trains to bear a color scheme other than the company’s traditional blue and gold. The train, seen below, is painted to resemble Air Force One with a white body, a presidential seal and long vertical bars of blue.
Written by Taylor Corbett for KXXV. Additional reporting by Simplemost staff.