Harris County judge remembers former President George H.W. Bush

In his adopted home of Houston, there are countless people who can share a story of meeting former President George H.W. Bush.

Other's knew him very well are remembering a friend. Among them is Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

“They are, in private, not much different than you see them in public,” Emmett says. “So, watching that family, getting to know that family was just great.”

Emmett first met the Bush's in the late 1970's when he was running for the Texas legislature.

He says Mrs. Bush's endorsement helped push him to victory.

Later when President Bush was beginning his administration, Emmett was summoned to Washington to serve on the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Throughout, there was the opportunity to see George Bush's guiding hand at work to bring people together.

“We need more coalitions, and it just wasn't on the international stage. Any time there was an issue that needed addressing, he would try to get all the sides together to come to consensus,” Emmett says. “And that's why I still hold him up as the standard that we all ought to follow."

As an early example, Emmett cites then-Congressman Bush's support in 1968 of the unpopular-for-some Federal Fair Housing Act.

“He stood in front of his constituents, and said 'If you want to throw me out of office for doing the right thing, go ahead. But I'm going to always do the right thing,'” Emmett says.

The George Bush that Houston says goodbye to is the man who came home after the White House, who shopped at stores, ate at restaurants, championed local causes, and cheered hometown teams.

Emmett says that image is as real as the politician.

“Those of us in public office, yeah we interacted with him, but it's those average people on the street, that he got to know, and they just adored him,“ Emmett says.

Like many of those people, Emmett counts himself lucky for the experience.

“I wouldn't be who I am without George and Barbara Bush,” Emmett says.