Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, a former White House butler who worked for 11 presidents in a career that spanned five decades, has died with coronavirus aged 91.
Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy had noticed Mr Jerman while he was working as a cleaner in the White House. She then promoted, and from then on he worked as a butler.
“She was instrumental in ensuring that that happened,” his granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told Fox 5.
Decades later Mr Jerman was commemorated by another First Lady, appearing in a photo in Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming.
Paying tribute after his death, Mrs Obama said her family were “lucky to have known him”.
“With his kindness and care, Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades of First Families, including ours,” she said in a statement to NBC News.
“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.”
He died with coronavirus last weekend.
Mr Jerman’s career began in 1957 during the Eisenhower administration. In his last position, he served as a maître d’ in the Obama White House.
He left his position in 2012, and President Obama honoured him with a series of plaques, one that represented each of the presidents he had served, Mr Jerman’s granddaughter Shanta Taylor Gay told CNN.
He remains an important figure for those who study the history of African Americans and their role in political life.
so far, over 1.5 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, with close to 95,000 fatalities.