HOUSTON (AP) — George H.W. Bush’s family and friends praised his faith, humility and patience Thursday, saying the former president embodied courage and grace along with his unique brand of humor and kindness as days of national mourning in Washington took on a more personal feel during a final Texas farewell.

Addressing a funeral at Houston’s St. Martin’s Episcopal Church where the 41st president and his family regularly worshipped, Bush’s former secretary of state and confidant for decades, James Baker, addressed him as “jefe,” Spanish for “boss.” He praised Bush as a “truly beautiful human being” who had the “courage of a warrior but the greater courage of a peacemaker.”

“The world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years,” said Baker, who concluded his remarks fighting back tears.

Following the services, a special funeral train was carrying Bush’s remains through small towns to the family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. His final resting place is alongside his wife and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia at age 3.

Thursday’s flavor was distinctly Texas. In place of most Washington dignitaries were top Houston athletes including the NFL Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt — displaying Bush’s love for sports — and Chuck Norris, who played TV’s “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

The St. Martin’s Parish Choir performed “This is My Country,” which was also sung at Bush’s presidential inauguration in 1989. Those gathered also heard a prayer stressing the importance of service and selflessness that the president himself offered for the country at the start of his term.

President Donald Trump wasn’t in attendance Thursday, but Baker seemed to draw a gentle contrast by saying Bush respected vanquished adversaries. He said that Bush’s wish for a “kinder, gentler nation” was genuine, not cynical.

There were rousing renditions of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Onward Christian Soldiers,” but also many of Bush’s country favorites. The Oak Ridge Boys recalled performing for him for decades and joked that Bush “fancied himself to be a good bass singer. He was not.” They then sang “Amazing Grace” and Reba McEntire offered a musical version of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

The previous evening, more than 11,000 people paid their respects as his casket that lay in repose in Houston all night.

George P. Bush, the former president’s grandson and the only member of the political dynasty still holding elected office, as Texas land commissioner, subsequently struck a more personal tone in his eulogy of the man he and the younger generations called “gampy.”

“He left a simple, yet profound legacy to his children, to his grandchildren and to his country: service,” George P. Bush said.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Russell Levenson, Jr., recalled the Bushes regularly attending services there and offering to give up their seats to others on days when the church was particularly crowded.

“He was ready for heaven and heaven was ready for him,” Levenson said of Bush’s declining in health in recent years. He also suggested that when Bush died, he would meet his wife of 73 years, Barbara, in heaven and she would playfully demand “What took you so long?”

Indeed, the funeral occurred at the same church where services were held in April for Barbara Bush, which was remembered for an emotional scene when the former president gazed from his wheelchair up at her casket, then shook hands with well-wishers.

A 54-year-old Texan who served in the U.S. Air Force during “Operation Desert Storm” is among the many people who turned out to watch the special funeral train carry former President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place.

Kevin Gulley, who lives in Cypress, traveled to nearby Pinehurst on Thursday to see the train carrying the casket of his former commander-in-chief. It is taking Bush’s body for burial in the family plot at his presidential library in College Station.

Gulley wore a blue jacket with “U.S. Air Force” embroidered in gold lettering on the back and had a button reading “Looking Great for ’88” on his lapel. He said he wanted to pay his respects to Bush.

Gulley stood waiting next to his son’s former football coach, 56-year-old Bill Powers. The two ran into each other here waiting for the train.

Powers says, “It’s what he wanted because he wanted everybody to be together.”