The LBJ Presidential Library and Johnson Family Remember Barbara Bush
Apr 17, 2018
Former First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday, April 17, 2018. She was 92 years old.
The Bush and Johnson families have been close, personal friends, sharing years in Congress and in the presidency. The LBJ Presidential Library and Johnson family remember Barbara Bush for her spirited candor, courage, patriotism, gracious manner, bravery in the face of adversity, and selfless contributions to this country.
L-R: First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Lady Bird Johnson, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, and Barbara Bush. National Garden Gala, A Tribute to America's First Ladies in Washington, D.C. May 11, 1994. LBJ Library photo by unknown, #D11275.
"When I think of Barbara Bush, I smile. Her candor was always refreshing, her grace was endless, her love of family never wavered, and she was always a true patriot. My family has been fortunate to know her and we will always be grateful for her service to our country. I share her commitment to reading and literacy which will be a large part of her legacy." - Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
"Mrs. Bush was a 'no-nonsense' devoted mother to her family and our nation. She was wit, wisdom, honesty, and character on two feet. She inspired a 'thousand points of light' of service to our country and was a beacon to us all. We loved her for who she was and for what we became because of her example. Our hearts go out to her remarkable family and to all who loved her as we did. The world is a poorer place without Barbara Bush." - Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
"Barbara Bush was in a very small group, along with Abigail Adams, who was both the wife and the mother of a U.S. president. But like Abigail Adams, she also made her own mark on our nation as one who was what her husband would call a 'point of light.' She not only championed volunteering but spent countless hours herself on causes like homelessness, AIDS, and her own personal passion, literacy.
I often heard her call herself, 'the luckiest woman in the world,' but we were awfully lucky to have her represent our country. Despite the many advantages she enjoyed throughout her privileged life, she never felt entitled and was always conscious of giving back—a quality that she and George H.W. Bush instilled in their family’s next generations." - Mark K. Updegrove, president and CEO, LBJ Foundation, and author of The Last Republicans: The Extraordinary Relationship Between George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush
In November 2012, the LBJ Library was fortunate to host Mrs. Bush for the keynote event at a day-long conference focusing on the lives and legacies of America's First Ladies. Joining Mrs. Bush was Mrs. Laura Bush in A Moderated Conversation: Reflections of First Ladies. Mark K. Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library at the time, moderated.
Mark K. Updegrove has interviewed Mrs. Bush many times in the past few years, including conversations found in his 2017 book, The Last Republicans: The Extraordinary Relationship Between George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
As a presidential historian for ABC News, Updegrove will be providing perspective and personal remembrances on the life of Barbara Bush and her legacy.
A revealing, personal interview with President and Mrs. Bush
On July 15, 2012, Updegrove had the rare opportunity to have a candid and reflective conversation with George and Barbara Bush at their home in Maine.
The exclusive interview was a feature cover story in PARADE magazine. The Bushes spoke about their proudest accomplishments, how Washington has changed, and the joys of grandkids.