Former first lady, Barbara Bush, passed away this week after a lengthy battle with multiple ailments in the later part of her life. The announcement was made Tuesday on Twitter by family spokesperson Jim McGrath and comes only a few days after it was revealed that Mrs. Bush chose not to undergo further treatment for multiple health problems and focus instead on comfort care.
George H.W. Bush met Barbara Pierce during a Christmas dance in 1941 and began corresponding with each other. A year after they met, Mr. Bush enlisted in the Navy and began training as a pilot. The couple married in 1945 and honeymooned in Sea Island, Georgia. Mrs. Bush dropped out of Smith college shortly after she was married, once telling reporters she wasn’t interested in school, but in George.
The couple had six children together, including a daughter, Robin, who died at the age of three after a short bout with Leukemia. Barbara was known as a loving mother, but also knew how to keep the children disciplined.
She spent most of her time raising the kids while George was pursuing a career in politics. He would serve as a Congressman, U.N. Ambassador, Ambassador to China, CIA Director, Vice President and, ultimately, President. She was only the second woman in history to have both a husband and a son serve as U.S. presidents.
“Barbara Bush was a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement of his mother. “To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother.”
The former first lady was a champion of literacy, creating the Barbra Bush Foundation for Family Literacy during her time in the White House. “I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society,” she once said.
She also campaigned for her son, George W. Bush, meeting with voters and joining her son on the campaign trail. She did the same for other son Jeb, who served as governor of Florida, and ran an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2016.
“I want to be known as a wife, a mother, a grandmother,” she wrote in 1988. “That’s what I am. And I’d like to be known as someone who really cared about people and worked very, very hard to make America more literate.”
Photo by Patrick J. Nichols via Wikimedia Commons