The Gretsch Family Salutes The Life And Legacy Of George H. W. Bush
The Gretsch family joins the nation and the world in mourning the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush. His humility, integrity, long life of service to his country, and deep love for his family and many friends are to be admired.
Mr. Bush’s passing also brings back a special memory.
In early 1980, Fred Gretsch, Jr., my uncle, mentor, and the man who lead Gretsch through the golden era of the 1940s through the 1960s was in failing health. On one of my hospital visits, we happened to talk about politics and the upcoming New Hampshire Primary.
When I asked my uncle whom he would vote for, he said he would pick George Bush. Uncle Fred thought he was the most qualified of the ten candidates running and respected Mr. Bush’s international experience as a diplomat. It also didn’t hurt that Mr. Bush knew the business world. He had been a very successful oil businessman in Texas prior to entering politics in the late 1960s.
I also think my uncle liked the fact that he and Mr. Bush had both enlisted and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Although they were stationed on different aircraft carriers, they both fought in the Pacific War. Uncle Fred was a Commander and intelligence officer; Mr. Bush became a highly decorated pilot and flew more than fifty combat missions.
Unfortunately, my uncle didn’t live to see Mr. Bush become our 41st President; he passed away in late spring of 1980 at the age of 75. But not before he taught me everything I needed to know about the musical instrument manufacturing business. In fact, Dinah and I are still striving to follow the principals and foundations for success my uncle established for the Gretsch Company more than 70 years ago.
Both Mr. Bush and my uncle were part of the World War II Generation, sometimes referred to as the Greatest Generation. A generation characterized by a strong set of values including taking personal responsibility for your life, working hard, keeping promises, being loyal, and showing humility.
It is my hope that all of us, especially the current generation of young people, will be inspired by Mr. Bush’s legacy and other humble heroes of the Greatest Generation. These men and women are role models certainly worth emulating.
— Fred W. Gretsch
(4th Generation Gretsch Company President)