George Herbert Walker Bush’s death has left many Americans to reflect on the pioneering life of the nation’s 41st president. While he served just one term leading the White House, his accomplishments stretched well beyond the Oval Office and ranged from the realms of the U.S. armed forces to national security to Congress to international diplomacy to, of course, skydiving at an advanced age, colorful socks and much more.

Bush died Friday at his home in Houston. His son, George W. Bush, the 43rd president, issued a statement through a family spokesperson that his father, who he said “was a man of the highest character.”

“The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41′s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad,” read the statement.

Prior to being elected president in 1988 and effectively being promoted from vice president, a post he served under President Ronald Reagan, Bush was a pilot for the Navy during World War II.

Read: Former President Bush Shares Father-Son Moment In Hospital

He and his wife, Barbara, who died in April, were married for more than 73 years. During that time span, Bush was a businessman and an upstart politician in Texas before being elected to Congress in 1966. Then-President Richard Nixon would ultimately appoint him to the ambassadorship to the United Nations before Bush waded back into politics as the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

After being appointed by President Gerald Ford to lead the U.S. Liaison Office in China, Bush was named Director of the Central Intelligence Association. A brief return to Texas would be followed by his nomination to be Reagan’s vice presidential running mate in the 1980 general election. The Reagan-Bush ticket would prevail in victories in 1980 and 1984.

Bush would go on to win the 1988 presidential election with Dan Quayle as his vice president.

The above retrospective of Bush’s life, which has included such varying distinctions as having an aircraft carrier named for him and receiving a Komodo dragon from the Indonesian government.

Bush was born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. He is survived by his children, George W., former Florida Gov. Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. His first daughter, Robin, died from complications with leukemia when she was a toddler in 1946.