Barbara Pierce Bush, the fiercely loyal wife of one U.S. president and mother of another who was a champion of literacy and admired public figure in her own right, died Tuesday at her west Houston home. She was 92.
Her husband, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, was at her side.
Relatives said she died of complications from congestive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. With her health in decline, the family said in a statement Sunday that she had decided to forgo additional medical treatment and focus on comfort care. She was surrounded by family in her final days.
“My dear mother has passed on at age 92,” former President George W. Bush said in a written statement. “Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”
Bush possessed a no-nonsense style that pulled no punches and told it like it was — graciously. The Texas matriarch was a strong, steadfast partner in her husband’s political life, privately offering her own opinions while standing dutifully by his side as they moved around the country and world in pursuit of his ambitions.
The couple exemplified a certain Texas grace, showing politeness, kindness and respect with a steady sense of humor. They ushered in an era of political prominence for the state and their family that would span decades, drawing both ire and praise.
By Kevin Diaz, Emily Foxhall and Cragg Hines
Houston Chronicle on MSN.com