Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, 91, has died of COVID-19. He was a White House butler who served 11 presidents in several roles in seven decades.
Jerman started working at the White House in 1957 – from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. According to Fox News, he held roles first as a housekeeper then later a doorman and butler.
“During the Eisenhower administration, he started off as a cleaner,” said his eldest granddaughter, Jamila Garrett. Garrett added that first lady Jacqueline Kennedy promoted Jerman to White House butler during the Kennedy administration.
“She was instrumental in ensuring that that happened,” she then added.
Jerman was one of the White House’s longest-serving employees. Also, one of the reasons for his longevity in the White House is possibly how he kept silent about his job.
“There would be too many questions asked. You see, you never see. You hear, you never hear. And you don’t know nothing,” he told Vanity Fair in 2017.
NBC News also reported that President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush remembered Jerman fondly.
“He was a lovely man,” they said. “He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw each night when we returned.”
Jerman’s photo with former president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, was in “Becoming” – Michelle Obama’s memoir. His granddaughter said that the photo of him in the book, together with his overall legacy, has helped the family cope with the loss – as reported by NBC News.
“I want the world to remember my grandfather as someone who was really authentic,” Garrett then said to WTTG. “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 also stated.