Wilson Roosevelt Jerman: Former White House butler who served 11 presidents dies after contracting coronavirus


Her granddaughter, Shanta Taylor Gay, told CNN on Thursday that Jerman died on May 16.

“It was authentic. He was a calm but stern man. Very generous, never agitated or complained. He always said he lived a blessed life, “she said in an interview.

Gay said the family “took it day by day” in light of his grandfather’s death.

FOX 5 DC was the first to report the death of Jerman.

The long-time employee started working at the White House in 1957 under then president Dwight D. Eisenhower as a cleaner. He was promoted to butler under former president John F. Kennedy, an initiative orchestrated by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, granddaughter Jamila Garrett told FOX 5.

“Jackie O actually made him a butler because of the relationship,” said Garrett. “She helped make it happen. “

Gay said Jerman originally retired from the White House in 1997, but returned to the White House in 2003. He left the White House in 2012 as head waiter of the day. , Barack Obama.

Gay told CNN that his grandfather suffered a stroke in 2011 and that the Obamas helped make sure he was taken care of while he was in the hospital, even sending flowers. At the end of his career, Obama honored Jerman for his more than 50 years of service with a plaque and a coin to represent each president he has served, said Gay.

Former White House butler Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

A photo of Jerman standing in an elevator with Barack Obama and Michelle Obama has been included in the memoirs of former first lady, “Becoming.”

“Growing up, he never discussed politics,” said Gay. “And never tried by the Republican or the Democrat. It was about the person independently and learning a person. “

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush and host of NBC’s Today with Hoda & Jenna, paid tribute to Jerman at the start of the show on Thursday. She said it was one of the reasons the White House felt at home.

Former White House butler Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with then president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

“The reason we felt at home was because of people like him,” she said. “We loved him and he was loved by my family, and we will miss him so much. “

She also shared a statement from her parents, who remembered Jerman as “a charming man.”

“He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and every evening when we returned,” said the Bushes.

This story was updated with the reaction of the Bush family.


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