MIAMI – William Henry Trotter Bush, a wealthy investor and the brother and uncle of presidents, has died. He was 79.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush confirmed Thursday in an email to The Associated Press that his uncle had died. He did not describe the cause.
Jim McGrath, a spokesman for former president George H.W. Bush, said the president's younger brother died Tuesday.
Known as "Bucky" Bush, the brother of President George H.W. Bush, uncle of President George W. Bush and youngest son of Sen. Prescott Sheldon Bush of Connecticut was also active in Republican politics. He chaired his nephew's presidential re-election campaign in Missouri. At the time, he recounted that he used to babysit the future 43rd President of the United States.
Bush also was co-founder and chairman of Bush O'Donnell Investment Advisers in St. Louis, Missouri. Before that, he was president of Boatmen's National Bank of St. Louis. He also served on the boards of numerous corporations and foundations, including WellPoint Inc., now Anthem, the parent company of multiple Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurers.
At one WellPoint board meeting in 2010, Bush collapsed, bringing an abrupt end to a consumer campaign against insurance premium hikes.
Bush also was put in the spotlight in 2007, when he and other directors of a defense contractor reaped a total of $6 million from what federal regulators called an illegal scheme by two executives to manipulate the timing of stock option grants.
Bush was a non-executive director of St. Louis-based Engineered Support Systems Inc., whose profits were bolstered because of the Iraq war. He was not accused of any personal wrongdoing in a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but the agency said he made about $450,000 selling some of his stock in 2005. Bush offered no comment to the AP at the time.
Bush's September 1989 trip to Malta received some humorous notoriety. His brother, then president, asked him about Malta and later decided to hold his first summit with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev there.
When the weather failed to cooperate for their December 1989 "seasick summit," Bush and others later joked about Bucky's shortcomings as an advance man.
"I'm blameless," said the president's younger brother.
Chairman Todd Graves of the Missouri Republican Party offered his condolences to the Bush family, tweeting that "Bucky Bush was a strong leader and champion for the state of Missouri."
Fineout contributed to this story from Tallahassee, Florida.