The First Lady of George H.W. Bush

On June 8, 1925, Barbara Pierce was born in New York City as the third of Pauline and Marvin Pierce’s three children. Her father became the head of the McCall Corporation, which publishes the famous women’s magazines “Redbook” and “McCall’s.” Also, her father was a distant relative of the 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce.

Barbara grew up in an Episcopalian family of Rye, New York, as an athletic and bright youngster who loved to read. She had her elementary education at Rye’s Milton Public Institution and Rye Country Day School before enrolling at Ashley Hall, a boarding school in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1940.

When Barbara Pierce was only 16 years old, she met George Herbert Walker Bush, a student at Phillips Academy located in Andover, Massachusetts, at a dance over Christmas vacation. During George’s service as a naval officer in World War II, the two began dating and decided to tie the knot in 1945 while he was on leave.

Due to George’s navy profession, the young couple frequently relocated throughout their early years of marriage. Over the years, George and Barabara were blessed with six children, and Barbara settled into a busy life as a wife and mother.

After WWII, her husband graduated from Yale University and relocated the family to Texas. George H.W. Bush became a successful businessman after venturing into the oil sector. In the end, he established the Zapata Corporation.

While George was abroad on business, she took care of the house and the kids. Barbara Bush was a dedicated mother to her children and a devoted wife.

George dabbled in politics in addition to his business pursuits. Barbara was once again his staunchest supporter. In 1964, he ran for U.S. Senator from Texas, and despite losing, his campaign helped him earn national attention.

She became involved in numerous charities and Republican women’s clubs in Washington, D.C. as a congressman’s wife. She became familiar with famous diplomats and made relations with them after her husband was appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

Under President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1981, George Bush was appointed Vice President, while Barbara Bush was appointed Second Lady. She began working with various literacy organizations while in this capacity, and she quickly became a household name. She also developed into a confident public speaker, endearing herself to the general audience with her sharp sense of humor and approachability.

In 1988, Vice President Bush announced his presidential run to succeed Ronald Reagan. Barbara was an enthusiastic participant in her husband’s campaigns and spoke at the national party convention herself. On January 20, 1989, George Bush was elected President and took office, elevating Barbara Bush to First Lady of the United States.

She grieved for her daughter’s death at such a young age, which spurred her to care more for the less fortunate. One of the reasons the former First Lady was so committed to social causes was because of this.

Barbara Bush increased her interest with literary organizations as First Lady and sat on numerous academic committees. She backed initiatives encouraging parents to read to their young children and emphasized the value of reading aloud to children. Barbara eventually became involved in the founding of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

She was active in literacy initiatives. As First Lady, Barbara was instrumental in forming the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which pursues low-income parents to read to their children. Some of the funds came from selling a book she penned about Millie, the Bush family’s dog.

She joined the White House Historical Association and helped resurrect the White House Preservation Fund, which she renamed the White House Endowment Trust. She successfully raised $25 million for the White House Restoration Trust, which generates funding for the White House’s refurbishment and restoration. She was well-liked by the general public because she presented herself as a humble lady who was genuinely committed to her family and country.

Barbara Bush was very interested in charities, and she donated the majority of the $36,000 she earned from the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund to her favorite charity.

On January 20, 1993, her husband resigned as President and was succeeded by Bill Clinton, and the pair left the White House. Now that she was no longer in charge of the White House, Barbara Bush maintained her work with literary organizations.

In 1995, Barbara Bush earned the Jefferson Awards’ ‘Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged.’

In 1997, she received the ‘Miss America Woman of Achievement Award’ for her contributions to reading projects.

At the age of 92, Barbara passed away on April 17, 2018, in Houston, Texas. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as congestive heart failure.

Several schools have been named after her. Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine, and the Barbara Bush Library in Harris County, Texas, are also named after her.