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Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush portrait.jpg
First Lady of the United States
In office
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Preceded by Nancy Reagan
Succeeded by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Second Lady of the United States
In office
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Preceded by Joan Mondale
Succeeded by Marilyn Quayle
Personal details
Barbara Pierce

(1925-06-08)June 8, 1925
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died April 17, 2018(2018-04-17) (aged 92)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Resting place George Bush Presidential Library, College Station, Texas, U.S.
Spouse(s) George H. W. Bush
Children George W. Bush, Robin Bush, Jeb Bush, Neil Bush, Marvin Bush and Dorothy Bush Koch
Parents Marvin Pierce and Pauline Robinson

Barbara Pierce Bush (June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018) was the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and was the First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She was the mother of the 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. Previously, she was the Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

Early life

Bush was born in New York City, New York. Her parents were Pauline Robinson (1896-1949) and her husband, Marvin Pierce (1893-1969). Her mother died in a car accident. Her ancestor Thomas Pierce, an early New England colonist, was also an ancestor of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States. She is a fourth cousin, four times removed of Franklin Pierce.

Bush spent her early childhood in Rye, New York. She began her studies in a school there. Then she studied in a boarding school at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina.


At a dance party, Barbara met George H. W. Bush. At that time she was 17 years old, and George Bush was a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. They got engaged just before Bush went to fight in World War II. He was a torpedo bomber of the United States Navy. George named three of his airplanes after Barbara: Barbara, Barbara II, and Barbara III. In December 1944, Bush returned to the USA on leave. Two weeks later, they married on January 6, 1945. After World War II, Bush graduated from the Yale University. They moved to Midland, Texas. In 1953, the Bushes' daughter Robin died of leukemia. On April 13, 2013, she became a great-grandmother after her granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager gave birth to a daughter.


Bush had six children:

  1. George W. Bush (born July 6, 1946) 43rd President of the United States and 46th Governor of Texas
  2. Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush (December 20, 1949 - October 11, 1953, died of leukemia);
  3. John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born February 11, 1953); 43rd Governor of Florida
  4. Neil Mallon Bush (born January 22, 1955);
  5. Marvin Pierce Bush (born October 22, 1956)
  6. Dorothy Bush Koch (born August 18, 1959).

Personal life

Over the years, the Bush family moved 29 times. George H. W. Bush had become a successful person and had founded Zapata Corporation. He had a variety of government jobs. George H. W. Bush became the 41st President of the United States in 1989 and served until 1993.

While First Lady

Bush with children and White House staff in the China Room. The first lady is trying to make a paw print of her pet Millie for a holiday card.

Bush became the First Lady of the United States when her husband was the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She made a paw print of her pet Millie for a holiday card in 1991.

After being First Lady

After her husband's presidency, they moved to Houston, Texas. They also had a big house in Kennebunkport, Maine.

On March 18, 2003, two days before the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when her son George W. Bush was President, ABC's Good Morning America asked her about her family's television viewing habits. She replied:

I watch none. He [former President George H.W. Bush] sits and listens and I read books, because I know perfectly well that, don't take offense, that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we're talking about the news. And he's not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or that or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that, and watch him suffer.

George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush laugh during George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) christening
George and Barbara Bush attend the christening ceremony for the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77 6), October 2006
Barbara Bush at LBJ Presidential Library
Former First Lady Mrs. Barbara Bush at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2012

While visiting a Houston relief center for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Bush told the radio program Marketplace,

Almost everyone I've talked to says, 'We're gonna move to Houston.' What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas... Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality, and so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (as she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.

The remarks were controversial. In 2006, it was revealed that Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush–Clinton Katrina Fund on the condition that the charity do business with an educational software company owned by her son Neil Bush.

In November 2008, Bush was hospitalized for abdominal pains. On November 25, a dime-sized hole in her small intestine was found by surgeons. She was released on December 2, 2008 and was reported to be doing well.

Bush underwent aortic valve replacement surgery on March 4, 2009; she was released from the hospital on March 13, 2009.

In a November 2010 interview with Larry King, Bush was asked about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Bush remarked, "I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she's very happy in Alaska, and I hope she'll stay there." Palin responded, "I don't want to, sort of, concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I think the majority of Americans don't want to put up with the blue-bloods – and I say it with all due respect, because I love the Bushes – but, the blue-bloods, who want to pick and choose their winners, instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners."

Barbara Bush was portrayed by Ellen Burstyn in the 2008 movie W..


Barbara Bush died on April 17, 2018 in Houston at the age of 92. Her funeral was held at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston on April 21, 2018, with burial at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, and fellow First Ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton were notable representatives who attended the service.

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