In the wake of former US president George H.W. Bush’s death at the age of 94 last Friday, his family is finding comfort in the belief that he has reunited with his late wife, Barbara Pierce Bush, who passed away last April.

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The pair met when they were just teenagers, beginning an epic romance that would last more than 76 years. Through triumphs and tragedies, a world war and four years in the White House, it’s fair to say they’ve seen it all. The former First Couple’s love for each other endured and grew stronger despite hardships, and their marriage of 73 years became the longest-lasting marriage of any presidential couple in American history.

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In various interviews over the years, the couple spoke highly and affectionately of each other. “You have given me joy that few men know,” said Bush and, “he has given me the world,” said his wife. “I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago.”

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It all began in 1941, when a ‘love at first sight’ story began. George spotted Barbara at a Christmas dance from across the room and asked a friend to introduce them. In his autobiography, George reveals that they sat the Waltz out, and several dances after that! They were just lost in conversation. “It was a storybook meeting,” he wrote.

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After two years of dating, George proposed right before he was deployed to serve in World War II as a Navy pilot, and the couple frequently wrote letters to each other while George was away. Not only was he her first love, but the former first lady once said that she married the first man she ever kissed! “When I tell this to my children,” she said, “they just about throw up!”

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The couple went on to welcome their first son George, second son Jeb, and daughter Pauline (known as Robin). In 1953, tragedy struck when Robin lost her seven-month battle with leukaemia, a loss the couple had said “tested” their marriage but ultimately “made it stronger.” They later welcomed three more children together: Neil, Marvin and Dorothy.

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The couple carried their sense of devotion as a couple into the White House, where they served as president and first lady from 1989 to 1993. John Sununu, the White House chief of staff under Bush, said, “When we in the White House thought of them, we thought of them as a team. This is a couple that married young and stayed in love through their whole life.”

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George H.W. Bush passed away on November 30th, seven months after his wife who died at the age of 93, and leaves behind his children and grandchildren, and beloved dog Sully, who also paid his respects.

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