A quiet, dignified strength.

That's how Ray Antocicco remembers late President George H. W. Bush.

"The first time I met the president I didn't know what to say, I was a little nervous,” he recalled.

Antocicco was the headmaster of a private Christian school in Kennebunkport, Maine, and first met President Bush in 1989 when he attended a reception welcoming Bush back from his first European visit.

He was able to get an autographed photo and be served cake from the president himself.

"You might have gone through a greeting line and what have you, but I don't know too many presidents I've ever heard of serving coffee and cake,” Antocicco said.

Two years later, Antocicco would again meet President Bush, this time with his 10-year-old son. They shared a front page newspaper article with Bush that highlighted Antocicco’s school preparations for an upcoming medical missionary trip.

"I took away encouragement from that and I shared it with my students, how he was interested in the fact that we had an educational program that was faith-based and he believed in it and he wanted us to keep going."

As President Bush is set to be laid to rest in his home state of Texas Thursday, a cemetery in Penfield is the final resting place for his third great-grandparents who also had ties here.

"The earliest Bushes that were here was Timothy and his wife, Lydia. Timothy was a blacksmith in town,” said Penfield Town Historian Kathy Kanauer

She described the Bush family from the 18th Century as simple everyday people, echoing the words Antocicco used to describe President Bush.

He said his interactions with Bush may have been brief but they left a lasting impression.

"As we reflect on his life during this time period, that a takeaway that all our leaders and our citizens, quite frankly, of whatever their political persuasion, let's realize we're all Americans, we all love the country,” he said.