Barbara Bush

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I watch none. He [former President George H. W. Bush] sits and listens and I read books, because I know perfectly well that, don't take offense, that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we're talking about the news. And he's not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or that or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that, and watch him suffer. [48]

George and Barbara Bush attend the christening ceremony for the eponymous aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, October 2006 George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush laugh during George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) christening.jpg
George and Barbara Bush attend the christening ceremony for the eponymous aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, October 2006

Bush was visiting a Houston relief center for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina when she told the radio program Marketplace ,

Almost everyone I've talked to says, "We're gonna move to Houston." What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas... Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality, and so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (as she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them. [49] [50]

The remarks generated controversy. [51] In 2006, it was revealed that Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush–Clinton Katrina Fund on the condition that the charity do business with an educational software company owned by her son Neil Bush. [52]

Former First Lady Barbara Bush at the LBJ Presidential Library in November 2012 Barbara Bush at LBJ Presidential Library.jpg
Former First Lady Barbara Bush at the LBJ Presidential Library in November 2012

On October 3, 2008, Barbara Bush and her husband George opened the "George and Barbara Bush Center" [53] on the University of New England waterfront Biddeford Campus a few miles north of Walker's Point. The George and Barbara Bush Center lays the foundation for the heritage of Barbara Bush in New England and houses "The Bush Legacy Collection", material securing the Bush legacy in Maine, including memorabilia on loan from the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University. Particular attention is given to the family's New England heritage and to Barbara Bush's love for Maine. [54]

In a November 2010 interview with Larry King, Bush was asked about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Bush remarked, "I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she's very happy in Alaska, and I hope she'll stay there." [55] Palin responded, "I don't want to, sort of, concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I think the majority of Americans don't want to put up with the blue-bloods—and I say it with all due respect, because I love the Bushes—but, the blue-bloods, who want to pick and choose their winners, instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners." [56]

Barbara Bush (second-from-right) joins Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Rosalynn Carter at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, April 2013 Five U.S. first ladies in 2013 crop.jpg
Barbara Bush (second-from-right) joins Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Rosalynn Carter at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, April 2013

Bush was initially opposed to her son Jeb making a potential bid for the presidency; she believed that other families should have a try at the nation's highest office and that "we've had enough Bushes". [57] However, she reversed her position and appeared in a campaign ad for him. Beginning in February 2016, she began campaigning for him in New Hampshire, an early voting state. [58] [59] Jeb Bush joked that a town hall meeting attended by his mother featured a larger gathering than town halls prior to her involvement. [60] Concerning her son, she believed that Jeb was nearly too well-mannered, [61] but also was confident that he is "decent and honest, and everything we need in a president". [60] Bush weighed in on Donald Trump, who was Jeb's rival for the nomination. By her own admission, she said that she could not understand how women "can vote for someone who said what he said about Megyn Kelly". [62] [63] She also indicated that she had tired of Trump over the course of the campaign and due to her gender, she was "not crazy about what he says about women". [64] During the CBS Republican debate in February 2016, Jeb defended his mother by saying she "is the strongest woman I know", to which Trump replied that Bush herself "should be running". [65]

Bush and Abigail Adams are the only two women in United States history to have been both married to a president and the mother of a president. [66]

Illnesses and death

Bush was diagnosed with Graves' disease in 1988. Later on, she developed congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). [67] Bush was a heavy smoker for 25 years, quitting in 1968 when a nurse condemned her smoking in her hospital room after surgery. [68]

In November 2008, Bush was hospitalized for abdominal pains and underwent small intestine surgery. [69] She underwent aortic valve replacement surgery in March 2009. [70]

Bush was hospitalized with pneumonia on New Year's Eve 2013 and was released from the hospital a few days later. [71] [72]

On April 15, 2018, her family released a statement regarding her failing health stating that she had chosen to be at home with family, desiring "comfort care" rather than further medical treatment. [73] [74] According to family spokesman Jim McGrath, her decision came as a result of "a series of recent hospitalizations". [75] [76]

Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush portrait 1992 (cropped).jpg
Bush in 1992
First Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1989 January 20, 1993
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Barbara Bush lying in repose, St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas, April 20, 2018
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Arrivals at Barbara Bush funeral service, April 21. 2018
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Barbara Bush funeral service, April 21, 2018, C-SPAN

Bush died in her Houston home at the age of 92 on April 17, 2018. [67] [77] Her son George W. Bush tweeted, "My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was [...] I'm a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes." [78] President Donald Trump ordered flags to half-staff in Barbara Bush's memory, [79] [80] as he and First Lady Melania Trump sent condolences on the nation's behalf; saying: "As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family...She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family..." [81] Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, [82] Bill Clinton, [83] Barack Obama, [84] and Senator John McCain also sent condolences. [85] Some foreign leaders including Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Russian President Vladimir Putin sent their condolences as well. [86] [87]

Her funeral was held at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston on April 21, 2018, with burial at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. [88] [89] Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush (son), Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush (husband), and fellow First Ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush (daughter-in-law) and Hillary Clinton were notable representatives who attended the service. [90] Barbara Bush's son and Fmr. Governor Jeb Bush and Presidential Historian and Biographer Jon Meacham gave Eulogies. Former British Prime Minister John Major and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney were also in attendance. [91] Her husband was hospitalized the day after with an infection that led to sepsis.

Following her death, a cartoon by Marshall Ramsey, of The Clarion-Ledger, was widely circulated, showing Barbara being greeted by her daughter Robin (who died of leukemia at age 3 in the 1950s) upon her entry to heaven. The cartoon was shared by various people and relatives of the family, including George W.'s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager. [92] She would be featured again in another Ramsey cartoon later on in December of that same year (following her husband George's death seven months later), where both she and Robin greeted George after he landed a TBM Avenger (the type of airplane he flew in the Navy during World War II) in heaven. [93]

Her husband survived her by seven months, dying on November 30, 2018.

Awards and legacy

Barbara Bush Elementary School in Parkway Villages, Houston BarbaraBushESHouston.jpg
Barbara Bush Elementary School in Parkway Villages, Houston

In 1982, Barbara Bush received the D.A.R. Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution. She became a member in 1985 and continued her membership until her death.

In 1995, Bush received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. [94] In 1997, she was the recipient of The Miss America Woman of Achievement Award for her work with literacy programs. [95] In 1997, Bush received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. [96]

In 2016, she received honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Houston chapter. [97]

Multiple schools are named after Barbara Bush. They include Barbara Bush Middle School in Irving, Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, operated by the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District; [98] Barbara Bush Elementary School in The Woodlands, Texas, in Greater Houston, operated by the Conroe Independent School District; [99] Global Leadership Academy at Barbara Bush Elementary in Grand Prairie, Texas, also in Dallas-Fort Worth, operated by the Grand Prairie Independent School District; [100] and Barbara Bush Elementary School in the Parkway Villages neighborhood in western Houston, operated by the Houston Independent School District. [101]

The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center was named in honor of first lady Barbara Bush for her long-standing commitment to children's issues around the world. It takes a great deal of support to start a children’s hospital. It was clear when the hospital was founded in 1995 that Mrs. Bush, a well-known advocate for literacy and the well-being of young people and part-time Maine resident, was someone who could help lead the way. [102]

Historical assessments

Since 1982 Siena College Research Institute has conducted occasional surveys asking historians to assess American first ladies according to a cumulative score on the independent criteria of their background, value to the country, intelligence, courage, accomplishments, integrity, leadership, being their own women, public image, and value to the president. [103] In terms of cumulative assessment, Bush has been ranked:

In the 2003 survey, Bush was the ranked 5th-highest in the criteria of public image. [105] In the 2008 Siena Research Institute survey, Bush was ranked the 9th-best of the twenty 20th century and 21st century First Ladies. [104] In the 2014 survey, Bush and her husband were ranked the 21st-highest out of 39 first couples in terms of being a "power couple". [106] In the 2014 survey, historians ranked Bush among 5th among 20th and 21st century American first ladies that they felt "could have done more". [103]

Honorary degrees

Barbara Bush received honorary degrees from many institutions. These include:

1972 Arcadia University PA Doctor of Laws (LLD) [107]
1981 Mount Vernon Seminary and College DC Doctor of Public Service [107]
May 1981 Cardinal Stritch College WIDoctor of Laws (LLD) [107] [108]
May 10, 1987 Howard University DC Doctor of Humanities (DH) [109] [110]
1988 Judson College AL Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
May 14, 1989 Bennett College NCDoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107] [111]
May 21, 1989 Boston University MADoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
October 6, 1989 Morehouse School of Medicine GADoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107] [112]
September 6, 1989 Smith College MADoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [113] [114]
1990 University of Pennsylvania PADoctor of Laws (LLD) [115]
May 1990 University of South Carolina SCDoctor of Education [107] [116]
May 19, 1990 Saint Louis University MODoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [117]
1991 South Carolina State College SCDoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
1991 University of Michigan MIDoctor of Laws (LLD) [118]
June 15, 1991 Northeastern University MADoctor of Public Service [119]
May 17, 1992 Marquette University WIDoctor of Laws (LLD) [120]
1992 Central State University OHDoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
1992 Louisiana State University LADoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
1992 Pepperdine University CADoctor of Laws (LLD) [107]
1997 Hood College MDDoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
April 18, 1997 Hofstra University NYDoctor of Humane Letters [121]
1998 Austin College TXDoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [107]
1998 University of Miami FLDoctor of Humanities (DH) [107]
1999 Washington College MDDoctor of Public Service [107]
2000 Centenary College LADoctor of Laws (LLD) [107]
May 21, 2001 Wake Forest University NCDoctor of Humanities [122]
March 11, 2002 Baylor University TXDoctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [123]
June 7, 2003 University of New England
College of Osteopathic Medicine
MEDoctor of Humane Letters (LHD) [124]
December 16, 2005 Texas A&M University TXDoctor of Humane Letters [125]
May 21, 2006 George Washington University DCDoctor of Public Service [126]
May 15, 2010 Sewanee: The University of the South TN Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) [127] [128]


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References and primary sources

Further reading

Honorary titles
Preceded by Second Lady of the United States
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Lady of the United States
Succeeded by

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">First Lady of the United States</span> Hostess of the White House, usually the presidents wife

The first lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is the title held by the hostess of the White House, usually the wife of the president of the United States, concurrent with the president's term in office. Although the first lady's role has never been codified or officially defined, she figures prominently in the political and social life of the United States. Since the early 20th century, the first lady has been assisted by official staff, now known as the Office of the First Lady and headquartered in the East Wing of the White House.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George H. W. Bush</span> President of the United States from 1989 to 1993

George Herbert Walker Bush was an American politician, diplomat, and businessman who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the 43rd vice president from 1981 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan, in the U.S. House of Representatives, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and as Director of Central Intelligence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laura Bush</span> First Lady of the United States (2001–2009)

Laura Lane Welch Bush is an American teacher, librarian, memoirist and author who was First Lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Bush previously served as First Lady of Texas from 1995 to 2000. She is the wife of former President George W. Bush, and the daughter-in-law of former president George H. W. Bush.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jeb Bush</span> American politician and businessman (born 1953)

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Bush, who grew up in Houston, was the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, and a younger brother of former President George W. Bush. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a degree in Latin American affairs. In 1980, he moved to Florida and pursued a career in real estate development. In 1986, Bush became Florida's Secretary of Commerce. He served until 1988. At that time, he joined his father's successful campaign for the Presidency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Neil Bush</span> American businessman and investor

Neil Mallon Bush is an American businessman and investor. He is the fourth of six children of former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. His five siblings are George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States; Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida; the late Pauline Robinson Bush; Marvin Bush; and Dorothy Bush Koch.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Betty Ford</span> First Lady of the United States (1974–1977)

Elizabeth Anne Ford was the first lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977, as the wife of President Gerald Ford. As first lady, she was active in social policy and set a precedent as a politically active presidential spouse. Ford also served as the second lady of the United States from 1973 to 1974 when her husband was vice president.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marvin Bush</span> American businessman

Marvin Pierce Bush is an American businessman. He is the son of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush and the brother of former U.S. president George W. Bush; former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; the late Pauline Robinson Bush; Neil Bush; and Dorothy Bush Koch.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bush family</span> American family prominent in the fields of politics, news, sports, entertainment, and business

The Bush family is an American dynastic family that is prominent in the fields of American politics, news, sports, entertainment, and business. They were the first family of the United States from 1989 to 1993 and again from 2001 to 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George P. Bush</span> American businessman and politician

George Prescott Bush is an American politician and attorney serving as the commissioner of the Texas General Land Office since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, Bush unsuccessfully campaigned for the party's nomination in the 2022 Texas Attorney General election.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lauren Bush</span> American model and fashion designer

Lauren Bush Lauren is the CEO and co-founder of FEED Projects. She is also known for her previous career as a fashion model and designer. She is the daughter of Neil Bush and Sharon Bush, granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush and niece of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dorothy Bush Koch</span> American writer and philanthropist

Dorothy Walker Bush Koch is an American author and philanthropist. She is the sixth child of the late 41st president of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and former First Lady Barbara Bush.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Columba Bush</span> American philanthropist

Columba Bush is a Mexican-American philanthropist. As the wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, she served as the First Lady of Florida from 1999 to 2007.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pauline Robinson Bush</span> Second child of President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush

Pauline Robinson Bush, commonly known as Robin Bush, was the second child and eldest daughter of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and his wife, First Lady Barbara Bush. After she was born in California, her family soon relocated to Texas, where Robin lived most of her life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barbara Bush (born 1981)</span> Daughter of George W. Bush

Barbara Pierce Bush is an American activist. She co-founded and is the chair of the board of the nonprofit organization Global Health Corps. She and her fraternal twin sister, Jenna, are the daughters of the 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. She is also a granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, after whom she is named.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rita Crocker Clements</span> First Lady of Texas

Rita Crocker Clements was an American Republican Party organizer, an activist in historic preservation, and a First Lady of the U.S. state of Texas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jeb Bush 2016 presidential campaign</span> Campaign for US presidency

The 2016 presidential campaign of Jeb Bush, the 43rd Governor of Florida, was formally launched on June 15, 2015, coming six months after announcing the formal exploration of a candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for the President of the United States on December 16, 2014, and the formation of the Right to Rise PAC. On February 20, 2016, Bush announced his intention to drop out of the presidential race following the South Carolina primary. Had Bush been elected, he would have been the first president from Florida and the first sibling of a U.S. president to win the presidency himself.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy</span>

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington D.C., supporting literacy as fundamental to the success of both families and the U.S. economy. The foundation promotes access to resources to build a stronger, more equitable America through literacy. The organization co-sponsored the Adult Literacy XPRIZE and produces a "Gap Map" literacy data mapping tool, the National Celebration of Reading, and other events.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heidi Cruz</span> American investment manager

Heidi Suzanne Cruz is an American businesswoman. She has been a managing director at Goldman Sachs since 2012.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Death and state funeral of George H. W. Bush</span> Funeral of 41st president of the U.S George H. W. Bush

On November 30, 2018, George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died after a battle with vascular Parkinson's disease at his home in Houston, Texas. Bush was the first former U.S. president to die in nearly 12 years since Gerald Ford in late 2006. At the age of 94 years, 171 days, Bush was the longest-lived U.S. president in history at the time of his death, a record which was surpassed by Jimmy Carter on March 22, 2019.

On January 20, 1993, following the first inauguration of his successor Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush built a retirement house in the community of West Oaks, Houston. He established a presidential office within the Park Laureate Building on Memorial Drive in Houston. He also frequently spent time at his vacation home in Kennebunkport, took annual cruises in Greece, went on fishing trips in Florida, and visited the Bohemian Club in Northern California. He declined to serve on corporate boards, but delivered numerous paid speeches and served as an adviser to The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm. He never published his memoirs, but he and Brent Scowcroft co-wrote A World Transformed, a 1998 work on foreign policy. Portions of his letters and his diary were later published as The China Diary of George H. W. Bush and All the Best, George Bush.