Houston Mourns Barbara Bush, Revered Matriarch

Barbara Bush, June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018, was only the second First Lady who was also a mother of a U.S. president. Mrs. Bush died at her home in Houston on Tuesday at the age of 92.

She was married to George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, and was the First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She was the Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Her sons who held public office are George W. Bush, the 43rd President, and Jeb Bush, the 43rd Governor of Florida.

In Houston, The New York Times reports that Barbara Bush was a beloved member of the community who regularly walked her dogs at Houston’s Tanglewood Park. It reports:

“She was always very relaxed,” said Susan Miller, a health care consultant who lives across the street from the park. “I would often just say, ‘Good morning, Mrs. Bush. Nice to see you.’ She’d say, ‘Thank you. Nice to see you, too.’ She was just like you and me, just a very normal person that found herself in extraordinary circumstances.”

One night in 2016, Ms. Miller went to see a musical in downtown Houston — “Cabaret,” at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Mrs. Bush and her husband, former President George Bush, were there, too, and the audience gave them a standing ovation during the intermission.

“The very next day, I happened to be walking, and here she came again,” Ms. Miller said. “I said to her, as I was passing, ‘Mrs. Bush, what did you think of the play?’”

The patrons of Tanglewood Park remember Mrs. Bush in much the same way Houston itself remembers her — as a kind of straight-talking grandmother to the city, an approachable first lady out for a stroll in the sunshine, so genuinely earthbound that she herself picked up after her dogs at the park. Passers-by offered their assistance at those inelegant moments, but she politely turned them away. If there is an art to being both neighborly and presidential, to being classy even when things got a little messy, Mrs. Bush embodied it.

Her ancestor, Thomas Pierce Jr., was an early New England colonist was also an ancestor of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. She was a fourth cousin, four times removed, of Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Her son, George W. Bush tweeted after her death:

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump expressed condolences:

Mrs. Bush’s funeral will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on April 21, 2018. She will be buried at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

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