Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at 92

Barbara Bush
Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at 92
Barbara Bush

HOUSTON: Barbara Bush, the admired former first lady and a literacy activist, passed away today at the age of 92 at her home here.

Her husband George Herbert Walker Bush, the former US president and her son George Walker Bush, also a former president, were by her side along with other family members when she breathed her last, according to a statement issued by the office of her husband.

“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,” said the statement.

The beloved Bush family matriarch was remembered by her husband, children and grandchildren following her death.

Son and former President George W Bush released a statement saying his “dear mother” had passed away and that the family would “miss her dearly”.

Former President Bush said that his mother “kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end”. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in a statement said that he was “exceptionally privileged” to be her son.

George H W Bush was “broken-hearted” to lose his wife, his chief of staff Jean Becker said in a statement. “He held her hand all day today and was at her side when [she] left this good earth,” Becker said.

George W Bush and Jeb Bush detailed how lucky they were to have Barbara as their mother in statements.

“Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was,” George W Bush said.

Funeral arrangements would be announced as soon as is practical, the statement said.

She is survived by her husband, five children including former President George W Bush and her brother Scott Pierce, as well as 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Over the past few years, she had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. In her final days, she decided against seeking additional medical treatment.

Bush was last hospitalized for bronchitis in January of 2017 alongside her husband, who was being treated in the ICU.

Dedicated to her family and largely indifferent to glamour, Bush played down her role in her husband’s political success.

But she was a shrewd and valuable ally, becoming a sought-after speaker in at least four national campaigns.

Joining the nation in celebrating the life of Barbara Bush, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania said Barbara Bush as a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, 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,” Trump said.

In another statement issued by his campaign, Trump said the former First Lady will always be remembered for bringing strength and dignity to the White House, the Presidency, and America.

Melania Trump also expressed condolences at Barbara Bush’s demise.

“She was a woman of strength and we will always remember her for her most important roles of wife, mother, and First Lady of the US. My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the Bush family as we honor her legacy,” she said.

Barbara Bush, the New York native and longtime Texas resident served as America’s first lady beginning 1989 – when her husband was elected as the President of the United States – till 1993.

Later, her son George W Bush was also president of the US, serving from 2001 until 2009. Her son Jeb Bush was the 43rd governor of Florida, and also a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Born in 1925, Bush spent her childhood in Rye, New York, before moving to South Carolina to attend the prestigious Charleston boarding school Ashley Hall, according to the White House.

Known for her wit and fortitude, Bush spent her final years with her husband in their homes in Houston, Texas, and Kennebunkport, Maine.

She also wrote multiple children’s books and published a memoir Barbara Bush: A Memoir and Reflections: Life After the White House in 2003. In 1992 she also authored Millie’s Book, written from the perspective of the first dog. PTI