By Victor Omondi
A former White House employee who served 11 presidents has succumbed to Coronavirus. Wilson Roosevelt Jerman died at the age of 91. His granddaughter confirmed the death on Thursday.
Jerman is one of the longest-serving employees of White House, who was remembered fondly by former U.S. President, George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush in a statement on Wednesday.
“He was a lovely man,” Said the Bush family. “He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw each night when we returned.”
First lady Hillary Clinton said that together with her husband, she was saddened ‘the death of Jerman.
“Jerman served as a White House butler across 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including ours,” Clinton said. “Our warmest condolences to his loved ones.”
The 91-year-old began his career at the White House as a cleaner in 1957 during Eisenhower’s administration and was promoted during Kennedy’s reign, his granddaughter Jamila Garrett said. He was a meticulous man and a natural charmer with a warm smile. He was one of the few trusted White House workers allowed to take Kennedy’s children to different parts of the White House.
“Jackie O actually promoted him to a butler because of the relationship,” Garret said. “She was instrumental in ensuring that that happened.”
To this date, there’s a pair of paintings signed by Jacqueline Kennedy and John Kennedy hanging in Jerman’s home in Washington, D.C.
On top of the close relationship Jerman had with the Kennedys, Garrett said Lyndon Johnson ensured that Jerman had everything he needed to take care of his five children upon the death of his first wife.
While Jerman worked with multiple administrations over the years, he never complained of the various personalities he encountered in the White House, Garrett said.
“He was always proud of his work, and that translated to us,” she said.