The man who started working as a cleaning employee in the White House when he was President Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) was quickly promoted to butler, in the service of Kennedy (1961-1963), and retired in 2012, during the term of Barack Obama (2009-2017).
“With his kindness and care, Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades for several First Families, including ours,” said former First Lady Michelle Obama, in a note quoted by the Associated Press. “His service to others – his willingness to go further for the country he loved and for all those whose lives he touched – is a legacy worthy of his generous spirit,” he added.
Hillary Clinton also sent condolences to the family, via Twitter, praising Jerman’s ability to make the families of several Presidents “feel at home”.
Bill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Wilson Roosevelt Jerman at the age of 91 from COVID-19. Jerman served as a White House butler across 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including ours. Our warmest condolences to his loved ones.
– Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 21, 2020
Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush also paid tribute to the former butler, considering him “a lovely man”.
“He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw at night when we returned,” wrote the couple, in a note on NBC News television.
Jerman became a steward of the White House during the presidency of John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), a promotion that had the hand of Jacqueline Kennedy, according to one of Jerman’s granddaughters, Jamila Garrett.
Desiree Barnes, an adviser at the White House during the Obama presidency, ensured that Jerman treated all staff with kindness, recalling that when he was still an intern, the butler would bring him a meal if he hadn’t already eaten, and that he even called during a snowstorm to make sure she was okay.
“It didn’t matter which political party it was, it was there to serve,” said Barnes. “He was there on some of the most difficult days for many presidents… Imagine being there when President Kennedy was assassinated and having to receive the first lady at the time. Therefore, he was a very empathetic man ”, he praised.
The United States recorded nearly 95,000 deaths from Covid-19, a disease that disproportionately affected African Americans, such as Jerman.
In April, an investigation by the Associated Press, based on official data released daily, found that more than 30% of the fatalities with Covid-19 were African-American, although blacks represent only 13% of the population in the areas covered by the analysis. .
March data, made available by the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on the number of hospitalizations in 14 states, confirmed that one-third of the victims were African-American.