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Former White House butler who served 11 presidents dies of COVID-19

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman died on May 16 at the age of 91.

WASHINGTON — One of the White House's longest serving employees has died of coronavirus, news outlets report. 

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman died on Saturday, May 16, at the age of 91, his granddaughter confirmed to CNN.

Jerman worked under 11 U.S. presidents going back to 1957, when he began working under President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a cleaner. He was later promoted to butler under John F. Kennedy's presidency.

After initially retiring from the White House in 1997, Jerman later returned in 2003. His final retirement came in 2012, when President Barack Obama honored Jerman's 50 years of service with a plaque and a coin representing each president he served. 

Jerman's granddaughter, Shanta Taylor Gay, told CNN that after suffering a stroke in 2011, the Obamas assisted in making sure Jerman was taken care of while hospitalized, and even sent flowers.

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“He was a lovely man,” President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush said in a statement provided to NBC News. “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.” 

Jenna Bush Hager remembered "Mr. Jerman" and his impact on the White House Thursday morning on TODAY.

"The reason [the White House] felt like home was because of people like him," the former first daughter said.

A photo of Jerman with President Obama and his wife Michelle was included in the former first lady's memoir "Becoming."

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Credit: Tina Hager
White House doorman Wilson Roosevelt Jerman seen on Aug. 5, 2004

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