April 18, 2018 / 2:09 PM / 5 months ago

Barbara Bush funeral planned for Saturday at Houston church

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A private funeral for former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush, the only American woman to see her husband and son both sworn in as president, will be held on Saturday at a Houston church where her family has been members since the 1950s, officials said.

Bush, the wife of the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, and mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush, died on Tuesday at the age of 92.

After the funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Bush will be buried on Saturday on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station, about 100 miles (160 km) away, the university said.

She will be buried beside her daughter, Robin, who died at the age of 3 after battling leukemia, the university said in a statement late on Tuesday.

First lady Melania Trump will attend the funeral, her office said on Wednesday. The White House has not yet said whether President Donald Trump will attend.

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush acknowledges the cheers from the crowd as she speaks before the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., August 1, 2000. REUTERS/Andy Clark/File Photo

Flags flew at half-staff at the White House and the U.S. Capitol in Bush's honor.

On Friday, she will lay in repose at St. Martin's, which will be open to members of the public wishing to pay their respects, the Houston church said on its website.

Reverend Russ Levinson, senior pastor at St. Martin's, told the local Fox affiliate in Houston that the church had about 250 members when the Bushes began attending services there, and would often serve coffee on Sunday mornings.

"Both of them taught in our Sunday school program. Both of them have been involved in our outreach ministries," he said. The church has grown to about 9,300 members to become the largest Episcopal church in North America, according to its website.

The Bush family had said in a statement on Sunday that she was in failing health and would not seek further medical treatment.

According to some news media reports, Bush had been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart problems in recent years.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The only other woman to be both wife and mother of U.S. presidents was Abigail Adams, the first lady from 1797 to 1801. She was a major influence on husband John Adams, the nation's second president, but died before son John Quincy Adams was elected president in 1824.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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