Barbara Bush: author, outspoken grandmother

Staff Reports
First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday.
First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday.
Image: White House portrait.
Barbara Bush, wife of President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday. She was 92.

    Bush met her future husband when she was only 16, according to a biography on the White House website. They married three years later and remained married for 73 years.
    It’s well-known that during her time in the White House and in the years following the presidency of George H.W. Bush, she was a literacy advocate. But here are five other ways to remember Mrs. Bush:

    She was from a prominent family.

    Born in Rye, New York, June 8, 1925, she was the daughter of Pauline Robinson Pierce, whose father was an Ohio Supreme Court justice, and Marvin Pierce, president of McCall Corp., according to The New York Times and The Complete Book of Presidents, by William A. DeGregorio and Sandra Lee Stuart, (Barricade Books; 2013).

    She held an historic distinction.

    Only one other first lady, Abigail Adams, was both the wife of a president and the mother of a president. John Adams was the second president; John Quincy Adams was the sixth president.
    George H.W. Bush (1924- ), Barbara Bush’s husband, was the 41st president; George W. Bush (1946- ), her son, was the 43rd president. Another son, Jeb Bush (1953-), was a former governor of Florida and presidential candidate.
    Her maiden name was Pierce, and that brings us to another presidential connection: Barbara Pierce Bush was a distant relative of the 14th president, Franklin Pierce (1804 -1869).

   While technically traditional, she was also outspoken.

    She was the mother of not only George W. and Jeb but also four other children, Neil M. Bush (1955-), Marvin P. Bush (1956-), Dorothy W. Bush (1959- ) and Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, who died from leukemia in 1953 at 3 years old.
     Barbara Bush was also known for speaking her mind. Soon after the Republican Party put together a platform with a tough, anti-abortion stance, she made it known that she did not approve. Abortion, she said, is a “personal thing,” and personal things should be left off the platform.
   "I'm not being outspoken or pro or con abortion," Mrs. Bush said in an interview with news magazine reporters and found on The New York Times website. "I'm saying abortion should not be in there, either pro or con."

    She was a bestselling author.

    And yes, she wrote an autobiography. But readers most remember the children’s book she wrote  Millie's Book, (Harper Perennial; 1992) about her English Springer Spaniel.  

    She was a proud grandmother.

    She described her image “everybody’s grandmother.”  She freely admitted that she wore fake pearls to "conceal a wrinkled neck," according to The Complete Book of Presidents. "She grew weary of suggestions that she resume dying her hair, as she did not between ages 35 and 45, preferring to age naturally."


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