First Lady Barbara Bush was the beloved wife of 41st US President George Herbert Walker Bush and mother of 43rd US President George Bush, only the second in US History to hold both titles.
Barbara Pierce was born 08 June 1925 in New York City, New York to Marvin and Pauline (Robinson) Pierce. Marvin was a publishing executive and later president of McCall Publishing Company. They raised Barbara and her siblings for many years in Rye, Westchester, New York.
Barbara met George HW Bush at age 16 at a party in Greenwich, Connecticut. They were engaged a year and half later. Barbara left Smith College, as George was preparing to ship out during World War II, and they were married while he was on leave from the Navy, 06 January 1945 in Rye, New York. Their marriage lasted over 73 years, the longest presidential marriage in US History.
The couple had six children: President George Walker Bush; Pauline Robin Bush (who died as a child of leukemia in 1953): Dorothy Walker (Koch): Governor John Ellis "Jeb" Bush; Neil Mallon Bush; and Marvin Pierce Bush.
Barbara was known for her straightforward manner. She was honest, but gracious. She was a solid supporter of her husband both at home and in the political world, even when they didn't agree politically. She was the persona of the traditions of the state she loved, Texas, showing grace and politeness to everyone, along with a snappy humor.
Death and Legacy
Barbara died at home April 2018, with her husband by her side. She died from complications from congestive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She planned to be buried by her daughter, Robin, in the family plot near her husband's presidential library at College Station, Texas.
Barbara was an advocate for literacy, working to encourage youth to love reading as much as she did, having been inspired by her son Neil's dyslexia. She loved teaching them to read and giving families tools to continue that legacy. She pushed for the National Literacy Act, which was signed into law in 1991, as well as the National Literacy Foundation, which she continued to work with even after her husband left the presidential office. She also sent profits from her books to her namesake Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She felt it was important to do something for somebody, to help someone, every day.
"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K31W-YDD : accessed 19 April 2018), Barbara Pierce in household of Marvin Pierce, Rye, Rye Town, Westchester, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 60-329, sheet 63A, line 27, family 191, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2813.
"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X4GF-6PK : accessed 19 April 2018), Barbara Pierce in household of Marvin Pierce, Rye, Westchester, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 334, sheet 15B, line 63, family 391, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1664; FHL microfilm 2,341,398.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 19 April 2018), memorial page for Barbara Pierce Bush (8 Jun 1925–17 Apr 2018), Find A Grave: Memorial #7748443, citing George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, Brazos County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Source number: 382.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: FAI
Rechcigl, Miloslav, Jr., "Tthe Moravian Brethren Heritage of th First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush," in: Contributions of the Moravian Brethren to America. Selected Papers from the Conference of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, at the Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, June 8-10, 2007. New York, NY: Publishing House of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, 2008, pp.119-130.