Coronavirus US: Former White House butler dies at 91 

A former White House butler who served under 11 different presidents has died at the age of 91 after contracting coronavirus, family members have revealed.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, who died on Friday, was one of the longest serving employees at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, beginning his five-and-a half-decade career in 1957 as a cleaner under the Dwight Eisenhower administration.

His granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told Fox 5 that it wasn’t until President John F. Kennedy came into office in the 1960s that Jerman was promoted to butler, having built up a rapport with the first lady.

‘Jackie O actually promoted him to a butler because of the relationship. She was instrumental in ensuring that that happened,’ Garrett said.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, who died on Friday, was one of the longest serving employees at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, beginning his five-and-a half-decade career in 1957 as a cleaner under the Eisenhower administration

Jerman served under 11 different presidents, eventually retiring in 2012 after Barack Obama's first term

Jerman served under 11 different presidents, eventually retiring in 2012 after Barack Obama’s first term

She said that her grandfather also got to work closely with the Bush family when former President George H. W. Bush came to power in 1989.

‘When Bush Sr. became president and moved his family into the White House,’ Garrett told the network, ‘George Bush Jr. has a little trouble adapting to a new environment, some trouble sleeping. Well, my grandfather would actually sit with him in his bedroom until he fell asleep.’

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush remembered Jerman fondly in a statement to NBC.

‘He was a lovely man,’ the Bushes said. ‘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.’

Michelle Obama included a photograph of Jerman in her bestselling memoir, Becoming. The image shows Jerman beaming toward the camera as the Obamas laugh behind him in an elevator

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush remembered Jerman fondly as 'a lovely man'

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush remembered Jerman fondly as ‘a lovely man’

it wasn’t until President John F. Kennedy came into office in the 1960s that Jerman was promoted to butler, having built up a rapport with the first lady, Jackie Kennedy

it wasn’t until President John F. Kennedy came into office in the 1960s that Jerman was promoted to butler, having built up a rapport with the first lady, Jackie Kennedy

Garrett issued particular thanks to Michelle Obama, whose husband was the last president Jerman served under.

The former first lady included a photograph of Jerman in her bestselling memoir, Becoming. The image shows Jerman beaming toward the camera as the Obamas laugh behind him in an elevator.

‘I want to say thank you so much, so much to Michelle Obama for including him in her book,’ she said. ‘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.’ 

Former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered her ‘warmest condolences’ to Jerman’s family, following the news of his death.

‘Bill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Wilson Roosevelt Jerman at the age of 91 from COVID-19,’ Clinton tweeted on Thursday afternoon.

‘Jerman served as a White House butler across 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including ours.’ 

Towards the end of his career, Jerman reduced his role to part-time before finally retiring in 2012. 

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Towards the end of his career, Jerman reduced his role to part-time before finally retiring in 2012 (pictured: Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with his family and President Ronald Reagan)

Towards the end of his career, Jerman reduced his role to part-time before finally retiring in 2012 (pictured: Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with his family and President Ronald Reagan)

Jerman in seen shaking hands with former first lady Hillary Clinton, whom he served during former President Bill Clinton's term

Jerman in seen shaking hands with former first lady Hillary Clinton, whom he served during former President Bill Clinton’s term

Garrett described Jerman as a ‘family-loving, genuine man’. She said ‘he was always about service, service to others, and it didn’t matter who you were or what you did or what you needed, whatever that he could provide you with.’

Jerman seen celebrating his birthday

Garrett described Jerman as a ‘family-loving, genuine man’. She said ‘he was always about service, service to others, and it didn’t matter who you were or what you did or what you needed, whatever that he could provide you with.’

‘I want the world to remember my grandfather as someone who was really authentic,’ Garrett said

The secret to the success behind his long and illustrious career may have been his ability to remain tight-lipped about his job outside of the workplace.

‘There would be too many questions asked,’ he told Vanity Fair in 2017 of his proverbial vow of silence. ‘You see, you never see. You hear, you never hear. And you don’t know nothing.’

Garrett described Jerman as a ‘family-loving, genuine man’. She said ‘he was always about service, service to others, and it didn’t matter who you were or what you did or what you needed, whatever that he could provide you with.’

‘I want the world to remember my grandfather as someone who was really authentic,’ Garrett said.

‘Always being yourself. That’s what he taught our family, that’s what thrives throughout our family. And that’s what we’ll continue to carry on, his legacy.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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