A tireless literacy advocate, a wife, mother and gracious former first lady, Barbara Bush will be remembered for her pride in her family, her many accomplishments — and her signature strands of pearls.
Mrs. Bush, at 92, had just days ago left a hospital to receive comfort care at her home in Texas. She died surrounded by her family, and her husband reportedly held her hand for most of her last day on earth.
She suffered from several physical ailments, including Graves disease, a thyroid condition.
The announcement of her passing was made in a statement by the office of former President George H.W. Bush.
“A former first lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at the age of 92,” read the statement. “She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H.W. Bush; five children and their spouses; 17 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and her brother, Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline Robinson ‘Robin’ Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 18, 2018
In his own statement, former President George W. Bush called his mother “a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other,” Fox News reported.
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He continued, “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.”
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump issued this statement, in part, on Tuesday: “As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former first lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family. Amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection. She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well.”
Barbara Bush had a no-nonsense ability and the wisdom to cut through the clutter to make her points — and to hold people accountable. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal,” she told Wellesley College graduates in her 1990 commencement speech. “You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.”
— IJR (@TheIJR) April 18, 2018
She also once famously said, “The future of this nation does not depend on what happens in the White House, but depends on what happens at your house.”
She and her husband wed in 1945, when she was 19 and he was 20; they were married longer than any other presidential couple in American history. She wrote in Smith College’s alumni magazine last month that she was “still old and still in love with the man” she married way back when, as The Boston Globe reported.
Pragmatic, wise, and faithful to God, Mrs. Bush was grateful for excellent health care — and for love in her life.
“I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe,” she continued in her interview with the magazine. “I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts! Also, George Bush has given me the world. He is the best — thoughtful and loving.”
Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor for LifeZette.