Where did they come from? Story behind Bush 41's now famous 'book socks' worn at wife's funeral revealed

MELVILLE, New York -- Former President George H.W. Bush paid tribute to his wife's literacy legacy by wearing socks with books on them to her funeral last weekend.

Where did they come from? The story behind the now famous socks is revealed.

The socks were a gift from a young New York area entrepreneur with Down syndrome.

John Cronin, 22, is the co-founder, or, as he likes to call himself, "Chief Happiness Officer," of John's Crazy Socks, based in Melville, New York.

The company, founded in 2016, sells tens of thousands of pairs of socks around the world every year. Half of its workforce - 15 people - are those with special needs, and five percent of all proceeds are donated to the Special Olympics.

Last year, Cronin sent a box of colorful socks to the former president after learning about his penchant for fun socks. Mr. Bush sent a letter of thanks to Cronin and asked for more.

In March, on World Down Syndrome Day, the former president tweeted a photo wearing a pair of Cronin's self-designed Down syndrome awareness superhero socks. He thanked Cronin in the tweet.

Mr. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990.

After Barbara Bush died, the Bush family reached out to Cronin and asked if he had some socks the family could wear on the day of the funeral. Cronin sent several pairs, including the book socks, with a letter of condolences.

"I feel sad for President Bush, but I feel happy that he wore my socks," says Cronin, adding, "I want him to feel happy."

Cronin's father and the company's co-founder, Mark Cronin, said they found out while they were on the road that he wore the socks. Mr. Bush's spokesperson had tweeted out a photo.

"We were both in tears and at the same time incredibly moved that we could do something for the president at that time," Mark Cronin said.
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.