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On Tuesday, the Bush family announced that 92-year-old matriarch Barbara Bush had passed away. The New York native had been in failing health for some time, with the family announcing over the weekend that Bush had requested she be moved from the hospital to her home in Texas, declining medical intervention and instead opting to spend her remaining days with her family.

Born Barbara Pierce, she came from a wealthy family and met George Bush at a Christmas dance when she was 16 and he was 17. The two were engaged 18 months later and married in 1945 when Bush returned home from his duties as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot during the war. The couple welcomed six children over the next 13 years, with their second child Robin dying of leukemia at age three.

When George Bush became a Congressman in 1966, Barbara began her foray into public life, working with local charities and women’s groups. She shocked many Republicans in 1980 when her husband announced his intention to run for the presidency and Barbara said that she supported both pro-choice and the Equal Rights Amendment. When her son Neil was diagnosed with dyslexia, Barbara set her sights on combating illiteracy and homelessness, feeling the two were often connected. One of her greatest legacies is her contribution to ending illiteracy in the United States, as well as AIDS and cancer research. Known for her progressive views and humour, at her famous 1990 commencement speech at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Bush said “Who knows? Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. And I wish him well.”

She and Abigail Adams are the only two women to have been both married to, and the mother of, a US president, with Barbara’s husband George Bush serving as president from 1989 to 1993, and their son George W. Bush president from 2001 – 2009.

In 2017, both Barbara and George were hospitalized and missed the inauguration of President Trump, but the couple did later appear at the Super Bowl in Houston.

This past January, Barbara and George Bush celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. In the hours following Barbara’s death, many politicians and celebrities have shared their memories for the former FLOTUS on social media.

The Obamas released a joint statement, saying that Bush represented the very best of the American spirit.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Bush ‘a friend to Canada’ and applauded the legacy she leaves behind.


Hillary Clinton thanked Bush for the kindness she extended throughout the years to the Clinton family.


Ellen DeGeneres said that Bush ‘lived an incredible life.’


JJ Watt shared photos of himself and Bush, an avid sports fans.


Roseanne Barr remembered Bush comforting her after Barr infamously performed the Star-Spangled Banner.


Madeline Albright said that Bush embodied America’s best values.


Al Gore said Bush would be remembered for her kindness and spirit.


Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb issued a statement together, praising Bush’s commencement speech to Wellesley College.


Actor Gary Sinise remembered visiting the Bush family in Texas.


And Jenna Bush Hagar paid tribute to her grandmother with a touching and emotional description of a woman who taught her to both use her voice and listen to others.