PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Remembrances and condolences are pouring in as the nation honors former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away at his Houston home Friday night at age 94.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh and his wife will be attending the funeral.
Their friendship and association began in 1980 when then-Republican presidential candidate George H.W. Bush stopped in Harrisburg, seeking support from then-Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh.
The former governor obliged by putting a “You got a friend in Pennsylvania” badge on Bush’s lapel.
“This was a man who was bigger than life, but you know, as often of so-called famous people, when you got right down to it, he was just a wonderful friend,” Thornburgh told KDKA-TV News on Saturday.
Their relationship would grow from there. Thornburgh was the Attorney General at the end of President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988 and he stayed on with the Bush administration until 1991.
He says one of President Bush’s greatest accomplishments was the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Thornburgh was the point man in the A.D.A. campaign.
“My wife and I have a wonderful son who is mentally retarded and has made enormous progress, but still can take advantage of the A.D.A. and help other people,” he said.
Even though President Bush got most of the credit for passage of the A.D.A., Thornburgh says he always gave credit to others.
“He was a humble person. He never threw his weight around as President of the United States,” Thornburgh said.