Former White House butler, Wilson Jerman dies of coronavirus

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman's family announced his death after contracting coronavirus at the age of 91 last Saturday.

"During the Eisenhower administration, he started off as a cleaner", Jerman's eldest granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told Fox 5.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman was one of the White House's longest-serving employees, remembered fondly by former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday.

"My grandfather was a family-loving, genuine man", Garrett said of her grandfather.

"His service to others - his willingness to go above and beyond for the country he loved and all those whose lives he touched - is a legacy worthy of his generous spirit".

"He was the first person we saw the morning when we left the residence and each night when we returned", the Bushes said. Very giving, never fussed or complained. "Always said he lived a blessed life", Gay told CNN, adding that when Jerman left the White House in 2012, the Obamas presented him with a plaque and a coin to represent each president he served.

Ohio State University's Koritha Mitchell, author of From Slave Cabins to the White House, said that Mr Jerman was seen as an important figure in the history of African Americans in USA political life. Jerman worked for every president from Eisenhower to Obama.

In her interview with the news station, Garrett took the chance to thank former first lady Michelle Obama, whose husband was the last president under whom Jerman served, for including a photo of her grandfather in her recent memoir "Becoming". "You know, just considering that we aren't able to grieve normally, physically together, that is one way that we are able to still feel connected to his success and connected to so much that he promoted around authenticity and building relationships".

The then First Lady had him promoted, and from then on he worked as a butler. He would leave again in 2012 as maître d' under then-President Barack Obama, according to reports.

"With his kindness and care, Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades of first families, including ours", said Michelle Obama. "Our warmest condolences to his loved ones".



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