Former World War II pilot loved skydiving – Boston Herald

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president who died Friday at age 94, would celebrate his age milestones with a high-flying hobby — skydiving.

“It’s vintage George Bush,” said family spokesman Jim McGrath, adding the former president liked a surprise and an adrenaline rush. “It’s that passion for life. It’s wanting to set a goal, wanting to achieve it.”

Bush, a Navy pilot during World War II, approached old age with gusto, celebrating his 75th and 80th birthdays by skydiving over College Station, Texas, the home of his presidential library.

He did it again on his 85th birthday in 2009, parachuting near his oceanfront home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

In June 2014, the elder statesman jumped for the last time from a helicopter at about 6,000 feet while harnessed to retired Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a former member of the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute team.

“That’s what he wanted for his 90th birthday and that’s what he got,” Elliott said. “It’s a very good feeling to be involved and be able to turn back time.”

— jng@bostonherald.com

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