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NEW: President George H.W. Bush’s long history in Palm Beach County


He has played golf here, raised money here and, more than once, battled it out on local tennis courts.

Former President George H.W. Bush — now in a Houston hospital fighting pneumonia — has many ties to Palm Beach County.

The 92-year-old continues to improve, and remains under observation at Houston Methodist Hospital, spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted Tuesday.

» PHOTOS: President George H.W. Bush through the years

This is the elder Bush’s latest hospital stay in the past few years, at times facing similar health issues, including bronchitis. Bush was discharged from the same hospital at the end of January after spending just over two weeks there as he battled pneumonia. With unflagging spirit, he was joined by his wife, Barbara, just a few days after his release to perform the coin toss at this year’s Super Bowl in Houston.

Here is a look at some of Bush’s ties to Palm Beach County and his many trips here throughout the years.

Jupiter Island home

Bush brought his children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, to Jupiter Island with him to visit his parents, Prescott and Dorothy Bush. The family spent winters at the home on Links Road, and attended services in the 1960s at Hobe Sound Presbyterian Church.

Navy training

As a 19-year-old ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Bush lived at Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale — now the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — and flew training missions over Lake Okeechobee in 1943.

» How World War II changed Florida forever

Campaigning

During George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign, his then-governor brother and former-president father traveled to Palm Beach County to stump for him.

Jeb and George H.W. appeared at a rally at PGA National Resort on Oct. 29, 2004. The elder Bush told a joke about arriving at Palm Beach International Airport, saying that as they landed, he told Jeb that he could see Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s plane.

“How do you know it’s his,” Jeb asked.

“It’s got two left wings on it,” Bush reportedly replied.

During his 1988 presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush had a campaign office at 5405 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.

Gulf Stream vacations

Soon after winning the president election in 1988, Bush traveled to Gulf Stream to stay at the home of millionaire Willam Farish, a longtime friend. There, the president-elect golfed, fished and played tennis. Bush didn’t catch any fish, but he did manage to snag himself with a fishing hook.

» Presidents have long been drawn to Palm Beach County

George Bush Boulevard

The street in Delray Beach is named for the 41st U.S. president. In 1989, the Gulf Stream Republican Club paid $25,000 in a charity auction to rename the stretch of Northeast Eighth Street from Swinton Avenue to A1A for the recently elected president. The change was fought by some locals, but the club’s efforts prevailed.

Barbershop call

In 1999, Bush made a “get well” call to Carmen Legato, the owner and operator of Carmen’s Fairway Haircutting in Tequesta, after Legato underwent a heart transplant. Bush’s uncle Louis Walker was one of Legato’s clients.

Charity golf

Just outside of Palm Beach County, Bush participated in a March 9, 2005, charity golf fundraiser with former President Bill Clinton at golfer Greg Norman’s Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound. At $30,000 a pop, 72 golfers raised money for the victims of the December 2004 tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people.

» Gridiron election: Ex-presidents would comprise impressive team

Roger Dean visit

The day after that golf tournament, Bush attended a spring training game at Roger Dean stadium. Though his team lost — the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros with a score of 4-2 — The Palm Beach Post reported that Bush seemed to enjoy himself as he sat in one of the stadium’s suites. He signed autographs, and cheered when he realized he was the answer to a daily trivia question.

Charity tennis

Bush is good friends with professional tennis player Chris Evert, and the former president traveled to Delray Beach several times for Evert’s Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic. Bush and Evert played as doubles partners.

Surprise visit

In January 2004, George H.W. and Barbara Bush made a surprise visit to a fifth-grade class at Morikami Park Elementary School in suburban Delray Beach.

Palm Beach Post staff writer Eliot Kleinberg and information from The Palm Beach Post archives was used in this report.



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