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Former neighbor reflects on personal impressions of George H.W. Bush

(WWLP) — Many people in western Massachusetts knew the late president on a personal level.

A Massachusetts man on Saturday shared his personal impressions of this world leader, a Massachusetts native who made his home in New England. 

Springfield’s internationally recognized political consultant Tony Cignoli maintains a home at Kennebunkport, Maine. He was a neighbor to the Bush family, where the family had vacationed for generations.

Cignoli has just returned to Springfield from his home in Kennebunkport. He spoke about his personal experiences with the late president and his family.

“He was just an incredible gentleman, he was as if, he was your next door neighbor your whole life,” Cignoli described. “That’s how anyone who lived at Kennebunkport would feel he was, just such a part of everything.”

Cignoli remembers vividly the evening he ran into the late president during the Bush presidency at a favorite seafood restaurant in Kennebunkport

“I’ll never forget it was full one day we had the luck to be there at the same time. It was almost like he was one of the wait staff,” Cignoli recalled. “He was moving tables around like he came out of the wait staff. He was moving tables around, the president of the United States. He created a little table for himself and his wife on the porch of the restaurant.”

And as he looks back on the George Herbert Walker Bush presidency, Cignoli feels Bush’s personal qualities deeply affected White House decisions.

“There is a lot of evidence from historians, that man he was, the genteel gentleman from Milton, Massachusetts, who went through a lot in his early life,” Cignoli said. “All those humbling experiences, the loss of his daughter did have an impact on his legislation, through Congress, as president of the United States.”

Cignoli’s final thought, “There was that regular personal touch. This was no imperial’s presidency with this man.”

For Tony Cignoli, the interactions with his Kennebunkport neighbor George Bush were both a pleasure and a privilege. And like his fellow Americans, Cignoli very much mourns the loss of the 41st president of the United States.