Michelle Obama leads tributes to former White House butler who died from coronavirus

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Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama: Fox News
Wilson Roosevelt Jerman with former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama: Fox News

Former first lady Michelle Obama has offered her remembrances to Wilson Jerman, a longtime White House butler who died from Covid-19 at the age of 91.

Ms Obama, who included an image of Mr Jerman in her book Becoming and the subsequent film of the same name, said she and her husband sent their “sincerest love and prayers” to Mr Jerman’s family.

“With his kindness and care,” she said, “Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades of first families, including ours.

“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. We were lucky to have known him.”

Beginning his White House career as a cleaner under Dwight Eisenhower, Mr Jerman served under 11 presidents, Ms Obama’s husband among them. Promoted to butler by the Kennedys, with whom he had a warm rapport, he was a constant presence in the White House residence.

Tributes to him have been coming in from other surviving first families. Hillary Clinton wrote that he “made generations of first families feel at home, including ours”, and that she and her husband send their “warmest condolences”.

And in a statement to NBC news, Laura and George W Bush called him a “lovely man”, recalling how “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”.

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