Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, White House Butler For 11 Presidents, Dies From Coronavirus At 91
Jerman worked at the White House for 55 years.
Former White House butler Wilson Roosevelt Jerman passed away at the age of 91 on May 16 due to complications related to COVID-19.
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
Jerman spent 55 years serving a vital role in helping to run the White House from the administration of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the 44th president, Barack Obama.
Former presidents sent statements to news outlets discussing the pivotal role Jerman played in making sure their families were well taken care of throughout their time in the White House.
Tonight on @fox5dc at 10p -— ShawnYancy (@Fox5Shawn) May 20, 2020
He served at the pleasure of 11 U.S. Presidents... during his 55 years at the White House.
Last weekend, he passed from COVID-19.
My exclusive interview with the granddaughter of White House butler, Wilson Jerman is next! pic.twitter.com/SBiXbQLiud
His granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told FOX 5 DC on Wednesday that he was promoted to White House butler during John F. Kennedy's term as president.
“Jackie O. actually promoted him to a butler because of the relationship. She was instrumental in ensuring that that happened," Garrett said. "My grandfather is a family-loving, genuine man. He was always about service, service to others. It doesn't matter who you were or what you did or what you needed."
“I want the world to remember my grandfather as someone who was really authentic. Always being yourself. That’s what he taught our family, that’s what thrives throughout our family. And that’s what we’ll continue to carry on, his legacy,” she added.
According to NBC News, he was one of the longest-serving employees of the White House throughout his 55 years working there before he retired in 2012. Jerman worked full-time in the White House from 1957 to 1993 and part-time beginning in 2003, according to the White House Historical Association.
Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush told NBC News that Jerman "was a lovely man.” Their daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, said in an interview with Today that “the reason why [the White House] felt like home was because of people like him.”
On Twitter, Hillary Clinton, former first lady and secretary of state, wrote about Jerman and his role at the White House.
"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," Clinton wrote.
One of Jerman's granddaughters shared memorable photos and videos of him with different presidents throughout his time at the White House.
In addition to the Facebook post, Shanta Taylor Gay spoke with CNN and said Jerman had a stroke in 2011.
"He was authentic. He was a quiet but stern man. Very giving, never fussed or complained. Always said he lived a blessed life," she said.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama included a photo of Jerman in her best-selling memoir Becoming and sent a statement to CNN on Thursday about his passing.
"With his kindness and care, Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades of First Families, including ours. His service to others — his willingness to go above and beyond for the country he loved and all those whose lives he touched — is a legacy worthy of his generous spirit. We were lucky to have known him. Barack and I send our sincerest love and prayers to his family," Obama said.