First Ladies: Barbara Pierce Bush

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Barbara Bush is the wife of George H.W. Bush and the mother of George W. Bush.

Barbara Bush

Barbara Pierce was born on June 8, 1925 in Flushing, New York. She was the third child born to Marvina and Pauline Robinson Pierce. She was the fourth cousin, four times removed of former President Franklin Pierce.

She always had a great love for reading and was active as a young person.

At the age of sixteen, she met George Herbert Walker Bush, a student at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts. The couple met at a dance while on Christmas vacation.

Bush named three of the planes he flew in the Navy during World War II after Barbara.

The couple were married on January 6, 1945 in New York.

The couple had six children: George W. Bush was born in 1946, Pauline Robin Bush was born in 1949 and died from leukemia in 1953, John Ellis “Jeb” Bush was born in 1953, Neil Mallon Bush was born in 1955, Marvin Pierce Bush was born in 1956 and Dorothy Bush was born in 1959.

After the death of their daughter, Robin, the couple set up a leukemia foundation.

George and Barbara Bush

After the war ended and George Bush graduated from Yale University, the family moved to Texas. The family moved twenty-nine times over the course of their marriage. While George built up his oil business and later his political career, Barbara raised the children.

Barbara occasionally joined her husband on the campaign trail, but while the children were young she concentrated on raising the children.

Barbara joined her husband at various appointments over the years and immersed herself in projects and charities that interested her, as well as forging friendships and becoming involved in various women’s groups.

When the couple moved to China for three years, Barbara is said to enjoy her time there and the couple often rode bicycles together to explore the ity.

Upon returning to Washington, DC and to combat depression, Barbara Bush began volunteering at a hospice and delivering presentations on her time in China.

Barbara Bush and Millie

In 1981, she became the Second Lady and began to spend time on causes such as literacy and homelessness.

In 1984 she wrote a children’s book about her family told from the point of view of her dog C. Fred entitled C. Fred’s Story. She donated all proceeds from the book to literacy charities.

She campaigned actively for her husband to become president in 1988. She emphasized that she would be a traditional first lady.

On January 20, 1989 she became First Lady. She continued her emphasis on literacy and helped to develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

She was active in the White House Historical Association, and worked to revitalize the White House Preservation Fund, which she renamed the White House Endowment Trust. The trust raises funds for the ongoing refurbishment and restoration of the White House. She met her goal of raising $25 million towards the endowment.

The White House residence staff generally found Barbara Bush to be the friendliest and most easygoing of the First Ladies they dealt with.

Barbara Bush

Bush was known for her affection for her pet English Springer Spaniel Millie and wrote a children’s book about Millie’s new litter of puppies. She even included Millie in her official white house portrait.

After leaving the White House, the Bush’s have resided in Houston, Texas and Kennebunkport, Maine.

In 1995, her son, George W. Bush, became Governor of Texas. In 2001, he was sworn in as president.

On October 3, 2008, Barbara Bush and her husband George opened the George and Barbara Bush Center on the University of New England waterfront Biddeford Campus.

She was originally opposed to her son, Jeb Bush, running for president in 2016 but later changed her mind. He later dropped out of the election.

Barbara Bush is currently the oldest living former First Lady.