George H.W. Bush stood taller than most men throughout seven decades of public service. That built-in surplus of extra inches came in handy at times when used to intimidate his political opponents struggling to stand up to his eye level while left listening below.

And he has always been slender; looking more like a six-foot, two-inch splinter than what you’d expect from a man who woke up to live the impossible dream of occupying the White House and then retiring as the 41st President of the United States.

A dream born out of an idea almost 50 years earlier when Bush was quietly raising a family while making money out of the barren oil fields of Texas but thinking of ways to escape those hot dusty winds swirling above the cactus and sagebrush.

Despite his lifetime of public triumph he never seemed to outrace the aggressive shadows of underestimation that chased him throughout his career. Maybe it was because he was always a thin man, or because he sometimes wore glasses.

“Newsweek” magazine once hinted Bush lacked what it took to serve as America’s Commander-in-Chief when it published the “Fighting the Wimp Factor” cover story just days before he officially kicked off his successful bid for the White House in 1987. He was already nearing the end of his seventh-consecutive year as the nation’s vice president when that story blasted him.