Neil Bush is the fourth of six children of former president George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush. Neil Bush was born on January 22, 1955, in Midland, Texas.
George H.W. Bush, 94, died on Friday, November 30, at his home in Houston. Neil Bush and his wife Maria were by his side at the time of his passing.
“It’s a very emotional thing. This is the end of an amazing life,” Neil Bush told CNN affiliate KPRC after his dad’s death. “They had Jimmy Baker and Susan Baker there, praying over him and expressing their love for him, and our pastor. It was a beautiful moment. … He was in the loving embrace of family. It was a prayerful, incredible time. I think we feel extraordinarily blessed that we were able to witness this passage,” Neil added.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Was Named After a Close Friend of the Bush Family
Neil was the fourth born child to George and Barbara Bush. He joined his older brothers, George and Jeb, and was the first child born to the couple, who lost their third child, daughter Robin, to leukemia in 1953.
It has long been reported that Neil was named after his dad’s employer, Henry Neil Mallon, who was a chairman of Dresser Industries.
“After graduating from Yale in 1948 with a degree in economics, Bush drove to Odessa, Texas. A wealthy family friend, Henry Neil Mallon, gave him an entry-level job at his Texas oil company, landing him in a state that he barely knew but that would become a part of his political identity,” reports the Buffalo News.
2. He Obtained an M.B.A. From Tulane University
Neil didn’t follow in the footsteps of his dad or his brothers George and Jeb and pursue a career in politics. Bush earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1977. He went on to graduate school, earning an MBA two years later.
Neil Bush put his college degrees to good use and became a businessman and an investor.
Despite not becoming a politician, Neil has been known to get involved in various political races. For example, Neil and his wife, Maria, were part of Ted Cruz’s finance team in the 2016 election.
3. He Is Married to Maria Andrews & Has 3 Children From His First Marriage to Sharon Bush
Neil Bush married his first wife, Sharon, in 1980, but the two divorced 23 years later. During their marriage, they welcomed three children together. Lauren Pierce Bush was born on June 25, 1984. The former couple’s son, Pierce Mallon Bush, was born on March 11, 1986, and daughter Ashley Walker Bush was born on February 7, 1989.
Just one year after his split from Sharon, Neil remarried. He tied the knot with Maria Andrews, whom he met through his mom — sort of. Maria worked as a volunteer at the Houston literacy-foundation office of Barbara Bush.
Neil and Maria never had any children together. However, there were rumors that Neil may have fathered another child. The gossip came about when his wife’s ex, Robert Andrews, decided to sue her after she made bold claims about the boy’s biological father. Maria Andrews allegedly told her ex that Neil fathered his then-2-year-old son. A DNA proved that was not the case.
Neil often shares photos of his adventures with his wife on Instagram.
4. He Co-Founded Ignite! Learning in 1999 & Has Made Several Other Business Deals Over the Years
Fairly early on in his career, Neil was a member of the board of directors of Denver-based Silverado Savings and Loan. Years later, he co-founded Ignite! Learning, an educational software company, in 1999. The company was funded by an assortment of financiers, including his parents, George H. W. and Barbara Bush.
Additionally, he has been known to make decent money as an investor. In 1999, Kopin stock trades made him a whopping $800,000 (approximately) in just three days.
In 2003, Neil inked a deal with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., which was said to have earned him $2 million over 5 years. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Neil was asked about this business deal during his deposition in his divorce proceedings back in the 90s.
5. He Has Done & Continues to Do a Lot of Philanthropy Work
Neil Bush is currently the chairman of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. He co-founded the foundation in 2013 with his wife, Maria, as a separate nonprofit from the national Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. According to the foundation’s website, the aim was to “advance [his mother’s] literacy legacy.”
“Established in response to the literacy crisis in the nation’s most diverse and fourth largest city, the Foundation focuses deeply on increasing awareness and literacy services and support in the Bush family’s hometown,” the foundation’s website reads.
In addition to that philanthropic role, Neil Bush also serves as chairman of the board for Points of Light, an organization dedicated to encouraging and facilitating volunteerism. According to his bio on the organization’s official website, “he expands his father’s vision of inspiring, equipping and mobilizing volunteers to increase capacity for vital social services and for finding innovative solutions that lift individuals, strengthen families, and renew communities.”
After his father’s passing, Neil penned an opinion piece for USA Today in which he asked the public to get involved in public service in George H. W. Bush’s honor.
“As we remember George H. W. Bush in the days and weeks ahead for who he was and how he lived, I hope people will take a moment to pledge their service to others — to become points of light who ‘reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship.’ That’s what he would want,” reads the piece, in part.