FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Tom Kelley of Kelley Automotive Group said a chapter of his life ended when he got the call Saturday that his friend, George H.W. Bush, had died.
"Here's a great picture of him pheasant hunting with me out in South Dakota," he said as he shared some pictures with FOX 55.
Kelley recalls how the friendship started 30 years ago.
"A group of us went out for inauguration in 1988 at the request of Dan Quayle, who we all knew very well, So I met him at one of the Presidential Balls, but I'm sure that I was one of 100,000 people he met that night, so he probably didn't remember that," Kelley said.
But the two would later meet again during an impromptu trip to the White House with Quayle. Bush later invited Kelley to go golfing.
"I've just done so many cool things because he said, 'Hey, come with me'... That was probably one of the most bullet proof excuses I ever had to go play golf," he said.
Kelley said the friendship grew from there, and he even sold a car to the former president after he left office.
"I asked him a lot of stuff about being president and he just opened up, and it was amazing. And one other time he called me and said, 'Hey I've been asked to play golf with the president,' and it was Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford and Bob Hope... I was like a kid in Candyland," Kelley said.
He said Bush always did what he thought was best for the country, from serving in WWII to becoming president.
"He just had that much integrity that he put the country first," he said.
Kelley said he knew Bush was getting sick when they had to cancel a visit over the summer.
"I loved him dearly and I'm going to miss him dearly, and I think so will our country," he said.
Kelley and his wife plan to fly to Houston this week for a memorial service.
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