Updated: December 6, 2018 1:04 PM ET | Originally published: December 1, 2018 12:39 AM EST

When President George H.W. Bush, who died on Nov. 30 at the age of 94, eight months after his wife Barbara, first appeared on the cover of TIME in 1970, it was as a knight battling for a Senate seat in Texas. Bush was part of a wave of Republicans seeking office in that chamber at the time — one whose sense of humor made an impression on the magazine:

Bush lost that race, but over the nearly 50 years that followed he would prove that his political skills were anything but amateur. From Senate candidate to President of the United States to political patriarch, Bush appeared on the cover of TIME in all those guises, nearly two dozen times during his life. With his death, that list gained an entry.

Here’s a look back at that evolution.

 

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