Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, one of the longest-serving White House employees, died last week from coronavirus, his granddaughter Jamila Garrett told WTTG in an interview Tuesday. Jerman was 91.
Jerman started working at the White House as a cleaner in 1957, rising to doorman and butler before retiring in 2012, Garrett told the station. Jerman worked for every president from Eisenhower to Obama.
"My grandfather was a family-loving, genuine man," Garrett said of her grandfather. "He was always about service. Service to others. It didn't matter who you were or what you did or what you needed, whatever he could provide he did."
Several former presidents and first ladies shared tributes to Jerman, recalling the way he touched their lives.
A statement from Michelle Obama, who included Jerman in her best-selling memoir Becoming, said: "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."
Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush said in their own statement, "Mr. Jerman was a lovely man. He was the first person we saw at the White House when we left the Residence in the morning, and the last person we saw when we returned at night."
And Hillary Clinton posted a message on Twitter saying, "Bill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Wilson Roosevelt Jerman," adding that Jerman "made generations of first families feel at home, including ours. Our warmest condolences to his loved ones."
Jerman and his wife had five children, 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.