Barbara Pierce Bush, the wife of President George H.W. Bush and mother of President George W. Bush, died on April 17, 2018, at 92-years-old, with her husband of 73 years at her side. Barbara was only the second woman in US history to be married to a president and raise a president, following in the footsteps of Abigail Adams.
Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath shared the heartbreaking news with the country on Twitter, followed by adorning statements from her sons President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush.
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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. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. 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. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.
Barbara Bush was born in New York and met her husband at age 16– he was the first boy she ever kissed. The two were engaged just before George H.W. Bush enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II. The pair were married in January 1945 and were the longest-married couple in presidential history.
Barbara and George moved 30 times throughout his political career while welcoming six children into the world: George W. Bush, Robin Bush, Jeb Bush, Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and Dorothy Bush. Robin died in 1953 at the age of 3.
The country came to know and love Barbara Bush as a wife and mother and was revered for her commitment to family. Known as the “Enforcer” to her 17 grandchildren she was plainspoken, charming and fiercely loyal to all who knew her. Throughout her public life, Barbara was committed to numerous causes, but none closer to her heart than literacy once saying, “If every man, woman and child in America could read, write and comprehend, we could find easier answers to so many of our other social problems.” As First Lady she took on teen pregnancy, inner-city violence and was widely praised for her work with AIDS patients in the 1980s.
A First Lady has the power to make people think. In 1989 Barbara Bush visited a Washington hospice where abandoned infants with the AIDS virus were being cared for. Some folks were ignorant and thought you could get AIDS from touching someone. Mrs. Bush hugged and kissed the kids pic.twitter.com/V2w41XkXlR
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) April 17, 2018
Barbara was her husband’s biggest advocate and closest confidant. At times her wit and candor made waves, but her desire to always put her family first stands out above any off-the-quip with legacy being cemented long ago during a commencement speech as she told the graduates, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.”