Close friends and family delivered a final tribute to former President George H.W. Bush on Thursday at a funeral service in Houston, recounting personal memories of the 41st president hours before his burial.

Former Secretary of State James Baker, who was with Bush the night he died, said in a eulogy that he took pride in the fact that his relationship with the former president was akin to that of two brothers who got along but always spoke their minds to one another.

"He had a very effective way of letting me know when the discussion was over," Baker recalled. "He would look at me and say, 'Baker if you’re so smart, why am I president and you’re not?'"


The light-hearted moment came amid a tribute from Baker that touched on Bush's legacy of foreign policy accomplishments, including handling the end of the Cold War, the reunification of Germany and the Gulf War.

"For millions and millions across the globe, the world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years," Baker said. "He was not considered a skilled speaker, but his deeds were quite eloquent."

Baker fought back tears near the end of his eulogy, just as he struggled to contain his emotion a day earlier when Rev. Russell Levenson Jr. recounted Bush's final moments at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Thursday's funeral service at St. Martin's Episcopal Church was a more intimate affair than Wednesday's state funeral service at the National Cathedral, which attracted thousands of attendees that included foreign heads of state, former presidents and first ladies, and current U.S. lawmakers.

Bush's grandchildren read scripture on Thursday and served as pallbearers, and George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush, delivered a eulogy.

George P. Bush's tribute emphasized his relationship with the man he referred to as "Gampy." He described playing on an imaginary boat with his grandfather on the coast of Maine as a child, recounted watching the then-president indulge in barbecue and Klondike Bars, and quoted the letters that George H.W. Bush wrote to his grandchildren.

"George H.W. Bush is the most gracious, most decent, most humble man that I will ever know, and it’s the honor of a lifetime to share his name," George P. Bush said.

Thursday's service concluded after roughly an hour, and George H.W. Bush's casket was carried out of the church. It will be transported via train to College Station, Texas.

Bush will be buried Thursday afternoon at the George Bush Presidential Museum and Library at Texas A&M University alongside former first lady Barbara Bush and their late daughter, Robin Bush.