Wilson Jerman began working as a cleaner under President Dwight Eisenhower and retired as an elevator operator during the presidency of Barack Obama.
“With his kindness and care, Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades of first families, including our own,” said Michelle Obama, the former president’s wife. “His service to others – his desire to go beyond the country he loved and all those whose lives he touched – is a legacy worthy of his generous spirit. “
Jerman became a White House butler under President John Kennedy, a role that Mrs. Kennedy was instrumental for him, said his eldest granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told Washington local Fox News station.
“Jerman served as butler to the White House in 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including our own,” tweeted Hillary Clinton. “Our most sincere condolences to his loved ones. “
Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush have said that Jerman is a “charming man.”
“He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw each evening when we returned,” the Bushes said in a statement to NBC News.
Desiree Barnes, who worked in the Obama administration, said Jerman had treated staff kindly. She remembered that when she worked as an intern, he brought her a meal if she hadn’t eaten and that he even called her during a particularly severe snowstorm to make sure she was fine. .
“Regardless of the political party, he was there to serve,” said Barnes. “It had been there some of the most difficult days for many presidents. … Imagine being there when President Kennedy was assassinated and having to receive the First Lady at the time. So he was a really empathetic man. He just was a great listener. ”