Barbara Bush, Former First Lady, Dies at 92

Barbara Bush, wife of the 41st U.S. president and mother of the 43rd, has died at the age of 92.

The former first lady and first mother passed away on Tuesday, April 17, after announcing over the weekend that she would not seek further treatment for her failing health. A statement from the office of her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, commemorated her.

"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," it read. "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."

"The official funeral schedule will be announced as soon as is practical," concluded the statement.

Barbara Bush was the only woman in American history to see both her husband and her son sworn in as President of the United States. Abigail Adams came close -- she was the wife of John Adams, the second president; and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president. However, she passed away before her son was elected.

In addition, Barbara Bush was the second lady from 1981 to 1989, while her husband worked as Vice President under President Ronald Reagan. From the beginning of her husband's political career, she participated in political groups, particularly those aimed at Republican women.

As her husband's statement points out, Barbara Bush was best known for her work advancing universal literacy. She described literacy as "the most important issue we have," and created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy during her time as first lady. In particular, the organization sought to put an end to the generational cycle of illiteracy, especially in the United States.


While living in the White House, Barbara Bush to an active role in preserving its historic aspects. She worked with the White House Historical Association, which she helped rename to the White House Endowment Trust.

Another of Barbara Bush's claims to fame was her signature white hair. Her hair began to turn at an early age, when her 3-year-old daughter, Pauline, began treatment for leukemia. After Pauline died in 1953, the then 28-year-old Barbara Bush decided not to dye it.