Former First Lady Barbara Bush Has Passed Away
Just days after announcing that she was declining further medical treatment and instead focusing on comfort care, former First Lady Barbara Bush has passed away at the age of 92.
Bush was First Lady while her husband George H.W. Bush was President between 1989 and 1993. She was a key proponent of universal literacy during her time in the White House and later founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Mrs. Bush was born in New York in 1925 – and was married for 73 years to the man she met when she was just 16. Married in New York in 1945 while he was on leave during his deployment as a Naval officer in World War Two, Barbara would later reveal that her husband was also the first man she’d ever kissed. In all, the couple had six children together including their first son, George Walker Bush, who would become the 43rd President of the United States and their second son, Jeb, would become governor of Florida.
Former President Bush is heartbroken over the death of his wife. A statement from Bush's office said the former President held her hand all day and was at her side when she passed away. Bush is remaining "stoic and strong" and his family helping him through this difficult time.
- Mrs. Bush will lay in repose between noon and midnight on Friday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston – the public is welcome to pay respects. Her funeral, however, will be the following day and will be private. She will be laid to rest at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
Among the reactions to her passing, the strongest come from her family:
- Her son, former President George W. Bush finds himself in reflection. In a statement he said, quote, "Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end." He added, quote – “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.”
- Bush's grandson, George P. Bush, issued a statement on Twitter. He noted that she was his grandfather's “top adviser, and a steady, loving, and guiding hand for her family.” “My grandmother didn't just live life; she lived it well,” he added. “And the sorrow of her loss is softened by the knowledge of her impact on our family and our country. I will miss you, Ganny—but know we will see you again.”
- Her granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, took to Instagram: "I already miss this FORCE of a woman— the “enforcer” because she was the glue that held our family together," she writes. "She taught me to use my voice but also to value the opinions of others. She adored her friends and family; her loyalty was unwavering. Humor helps, she often said and it does, Gans, but I will miss your laugh terribly."
Presidents – current and past – are also honoring the former First Lady.
- Former President Obama and his First Lady, Michelle Obama, said in a statement that they'll “always be grateful for Mrs. Bush's generosity” during their time in the White House and called her life “a testament to the importance public service.”
- Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement describing Mrs. Bush as a “remarkable woman.” “She had grit & grace, brains & beauty,” Mr. Clinton wrote. “She was fierce & feisty in support of her family & friends, her country & her causes. She showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like. Hillary and I mourn her passing and bless her memory.”
- Former President Jimmy Carter says he and his wife, Rosalyn, are saddened by Mrs. Bush's passing. He said she touched the hearts of millions of people with her warmth and generosity. “She touched the hearts of millions with her warmth, generosity, and keen wit,” the statement offers. “The matriarch of a family dedicated to serving, she urged volunteerism as a way for all citizens to participate in our nation’s progress. Through her own work to promote literacy as a value in every American home, countless families now have the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives. She will be missed.”
No matter your political persuasion, Barbara Bush was beloved. And with her husband holding her hand until the end, the world is now reacting. The Twitterverse is responding to the loss of former First Lady Barbara Bush.
Celebrities and fans alike have taken to social media to honor former First Lady Barbara Bush. People that hadn't met Mrs. Bush felt like they knew her as well as people that did - and many of them have taken to social media to pay their respects. Former President Barack Obama has made an official statement saying he and his family are “grateful for the generosity she showed” them. Ellen DeGeneres says, “Barbara Bush lived an incredible life. I’m sending my love to her family.”
There are few people who could ever cross political boundaries as well Mrs. Bush did, and the world will miss her for that - and so much more. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
See some of the reactions below.