Barbara Bush, First Lady

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Barbara Bush (Pierce)

Current Location:: Houston, TX, USA
Birthdate: (89)
Birthplace: Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Marvin Pierce and Pauline Robinson
Wife of George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the USA
Mother of George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States; Gov. John "Jeb" Ellis Bush; Neil Mallon Bush; Pauline Robin Bush; Marvin Pierce Bush and 2 others
Sister of <private> Pierce; James R Robinson Pierce and <private> Pierce

Occupation: First Lady, First Lady of the United States
Managed by: Jocelynn Elaine Oakes
Last Updated:

About Barbara Bush (Pierce)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Bush

Barbara Pierce Bush (born June 8, 1925) is the wife of the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush. Previously she had served as Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

Barbara Pierce was born in Flushing, New York and attended boarding school in South Carolina. She met George Herbert Walker Bush at age 16, and the two married in 1945, while he was on leave during his deployment as a Naval officer in World War II. They would have six children together. The Bush family soon moved to Midland, Texas; as George Bush entered political life, Barbara raised their children.

As wife of the Vice President and then President, Barbara Bush has supported and worked to advance the cause of universal literacy. She founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while First Lady. Since leaving the White House, she has continued to advance this cause.

Early life

Barbara Pierce was born at Booth Memorial Hospital in Flushing, Queens in New York City, and raised in the suburban town of Rye, New York.[1] She was the third child of the former Pauline Robinson (1896–1949) and her husband Marvin Pierce (1893–1969), who later became president of McCall Corporation, the publisher of the popular women's magazines Redbook and McCall's. Her siblings include Martha Pierce Rafferty (1920–1999); James Pierce (1921–1993) and Scott Pierce (born 1930). 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 direct descendant, great-great-granddaughter, of James Pierce, Jr. who was a fourth cousin of President Franklin Pierce.[2]

Barbara attended Rye Country Day School from 1931 to 1937 and later boarding school at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina (from 1940 to 1943).[1] She was athletic as a youth and enjoyed swimming, tennis, and bike-riding.[1] Her interest in reading began early in her life; she recalls gathering with her family during the evenings and reading together.[1]

Marriage and family

She met George Herbert Walker Bush, a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts at age 16 during a dance over Christmas vacation.[3] After a year-and-a-half, the two became engaged to be married, just before he went off to World War II as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. He named three of his planes after her: Barbara, Barbara II, and Barbara III. When he returned on leave, she had dropped out of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts;[1] two weeks later, on January 6, 1945, they were married at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York.[1]

For the first eight months of their marriage, the Bushes moved around the Eastern United States, to places including Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia, as George Bush's Navy squadron training required his presence at bases in such states.[1]

She gave birth to six children:

George W. Bush (born July 6, 1946), 43rd President of the United States and 46th Governor of Texas

Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush (December 20, 1949 – October 11, 1953, died of leukemia)

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born February 11, 1953), 43rd Governor of Florida

Neil Mallon Bush (born January 22, 1955)

Marvin Pierce Bush (born October 22, 1956)

Dorothy Bush Koch (born August 18, 1959)

Texas years

After the war ended, George Bush graduated from Yale University and the young family soon moved to Odessa, Texas where Bush entered the oil business. They moved to several small suburbs around Los Angeles, California before settling in Midland, Texas in 1950. The Bushes would move some twenty-nine times during their marriage.[1] Over time, Bush would build a business in the oil industry and found the successful Zapata Corporation. Barbara raised her children while her husband was usually away on business.

In 1953, the Bushes' daughter Robin died of leukemia. It severely affected Barbara Bush, and is the incident that is credited with beginning to turn her hair from a light brown color to chalk-white.[1]

First Lady of the United States

Barbara Bush's cause as First Lady was literacy, as it was when she was Second Lady, calling it "the most important issue we have".[4] She became involved with many literacy organizations, served on literacy committees and chaired many reading organizations. Eventually she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.[5] During the early 1980s, statistics showed that 35 million adults could not read above the eight-grade level and that 23 million were not beyond a fourth-grade level. Mrs. Bush appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the situation. She also appeared regularly on Mrs. Bush's Story Time, a national radio program that stressed the importance of reading aloud to children.[1] Through her influence, Virginia's former First Lady Jeannie Baliles was inspired to form the Virginia Literacy Foundation, which supported Virginia's grass roots adult literacy programs. Through her support and the publicity she generated as First Lady, grass roots adult literacy programs began to spring up around the country.[6]

She was also active with the White House Historical Association and worked to revitalize the White House Preservation Fund, which she renamed the White House Endowment Trust. The trust raises funds for the ongoing refurbishment and restoration of the White House. She met her goal of raising $25 million towards the endowment.

Bush was known for her affection for her pet English Springer Spaniel Millie and wrote a child's book about Millie's new litter of puppies. Barbara Bush became the first U.S. First Lady to become a recipient of the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund, receiving $36,000, most of which she gave to favorite charities.

Later life

Since leaving the White House, she and her husband reside in Houston, Texas and at the Bush Compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Several schools have been named for her: three primary schools and two middle schools in Texas and an elementary school in Mesa, Arizona. Also named for her is the Barbara Bush Library in Harris County, Texas[7] and the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine.

Bush was initiated into Beta Sigma Phi women's fraternity as an alumna honor initiate, a national honorary member of Gamma Sigma Sigma in 1987, and also was initiated into the Texas Eta chapter (Texas A&M University) of Pi Beta Phi women's fraternity in 2002 as an alumna honor initiate.[8] Even before her initiation, she served as honorary chairperson of the fraternity's literacy philanthropy.[citation needed]

She serves on the Boards of AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic, and heads the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. In 2006, it was revealed that Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush–Clinton Katrina Fund on the condition the charity do business with an educational software company owned by her son Neil Bush.[9]

Health problems

Bush disclosed she was suffering from an overactive thyroid ailment known as Graves' disease when she lived at the White House. George H.W. Bush came down with the same malady not long after his wife. It is rare for two biologically unrelated people in the same household to develop Graves disease within two years of each other.[10] The Bush dog, Millie, came down with Graves' disease, too, although there are reports that she had a different auto-immune disease, lupus.

Because of the remarkable coincidence of three cases of auto-immune disease in one household, the Secret Service tested the water in the White House, at Camp David, at the Vice President's residence, and at Walker's Point (Bush's home in Maine) for lithium and iodine, two substances "known to cause thyroid problems".

In November 2008 Bush was hospitalized for abdominal pains. On November 25, a dime-sized hole in her small intestine, that was caused by an ulcer, was closed by surgeons. She was released December 2, 2008 and was reported to be doing well.[11]

Bush underwent aortic valve replacement surgery on March 4, 2009;[12] she was released from the hospital on March 13, 2009.[13]

Controversy

Barbara Bush has a reputation for being outspoken in comments she has made to the press. Her statements have attracted some controversy.[14]

In 1984, Bush told the press that she could not say on television what she thought of then Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, but "it rhymes with rich".[15]

During her husband's 1992 presidential campaign, Barbara Bush stated that abortion is a personal matter and argued that the Republican Party platform should not take a stand on it, saying that "The personal things should be left out of, in my opinion, platforms and conventions." Her personal views on abortion were not known, although her friends reported at that time that she "privately supported abortion rights".[16]

On March 18, 2003, two days before the beginning of the war on Iraq, ABC's Good Morning America asked her about her family's television viewing habits; she replied:

“ I watch none. He [former President 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.[17] ”

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.[18][19] ”

The remarks generated controversy.[20] Later, Bush donated money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, but it was revealed that some of that money was earmarked by her to go to a software company owned by her son, Neil Bush.[21]

Fictional portrayals

Bush was portrayed by Ellen Burstyn in the 2008 film W.

Further reading

Bush, Barbara (1994). Barbara Bush: A Memoir. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0025196359.

Rarely has a First Lady been greeted by the American people and the press with the approbation and warmth accorded to Barbara Pierce Bush. Perhaps this is prompted by the image she calls "everybody's grandmother." People are comfortable with her white hair, her warm, relaxed manner, and her keen wit. With characteristic directness, she says people like her because they know "I'm fair and I like children and I adore my husband."

Barbara was born in 1925 to Pauline and Marvin Pierce, who later became president of McCall Corporation. In the suburban town of Rye, New York, she had a happy childhood. She went to boarding school at Ashley Hall in South Carolina, and it was at a dance during Christmas vacation when she was only 16 that she met George Bush, a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. They became engaged a year and a half later, just before he went off to war as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. By the time George returned on leave, Barbara had dropped out of Smith College. Two weeks later, on January 6, 1945, they were married.

After the war, George graduated from Yale, and they set out for Texas to start their lives together. Six children were born to them: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Meanwhile, George built a business in the oil industry. With Texas as home base, he then turned to politics and public service, serving as a member of Congress, U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and later as Vice President. In those 44 years of marriage, Mrs. Bush managed 29 moves of the family.

When her husband was away, she became the family linchpin, providing everything from discipline to carpools. The death of their daughter Robin from leukemia when she was not quite four left George and Barbara Bush with a lifelong compassion. She says, "Because of Robin, George and I love every living human more."

Barbara Bush was always an asset to her husband during his campaigns for public office. Her friendly, forthright manner won her high marks from the voters and the press. As wife of the Vice President, she selected the promotion of literacy as her special cause. As First Lady, she called working for a more literate America the "most important issue we have." Involved with many organizations devoted to this cause, she became Honorary Chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. A strong advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush helped many causes--including the homeless, AIDS, the elderly, and school volunteer programs.

Today Barbara Bush lives in a home she and her husband built in Houston, Texas, where she enjoys being part of the community. Their children and grandchildren visit them often in Houston and at the family summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Devoted to her family, Mrs. Bush still finds time to work on an autobiography, serve on the Boards of AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic, and continue her prominent role in the Barbara Bush Foundation.

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First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush was John Hibbard's 4th Cousin 5 times removed

Barbara Pierce Bush: descendant of Benjamin Baldwin, founder of New Jersey

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Wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush and the mother of U.S. President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. She is one of only two women to be both wife and mother to US presidents, the other being Abigail Adams. She served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993, while her husband was President. Previously she had served as Second Lady for eight years. As wife of the Vice President and then President, and continuing after leaving Washington, she supported the cause of universal literacy.Barbara Pierce was the third child of the former Pauline Robinson (1896–1949) and her husband, Marvin Pierce (1893–1969), who later became president of McCall Corporation, the publisher of the popular women's magazines Redbook and McCall's. 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 direct descendant, great-great-granddaughter, of James Pierce, Jr. who was a fourth cousin of President Pierce.[1]

Barbara was born at Booth Memorial Hospital in Flushing, Queens in New York City, and raised in the suburban town of Rye, New York. Her mother was killed in a car accident in September 1949.[2]

Barbara attended Rye Country Day School from 1931 to 1937 and later boarding school at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina (from 1940 to 1943).[2] She was athletic as a youth and enjoyed swimming, tennis, and bike-riding.[2] Her interest in reading began early in her life; she recalls gathering with her family during the evenings and reading together

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Husband: George Herbert Walker "Poppy" BUSH

Birth: 12 Jun 1924, Milton, Suffolk Co., MA

Education: 1948, graduated Yale University

Military Service: World War II: 1942-45, Lt. (jg), U.S. Navy

Elected Offices: 1967-71, U.S. Representative from Texas; 1971-72, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; 1976-77, Director, CIA; 1981-89, Vice-President of the U.S.; 41st President of the U.S.

Father: Prescott Sheldon BUSH, Sr.

Mother: Dorothy WALKER

Marriage: 6 Jan 1945, Rye, Westchester Co., NY

Transhumance: 1959, moved from Midland, TX, to Houston, TX

Wife: Barbara "Silver Fox" PIERCE

Birth: 8 Jun 1925, Rye, Westchester Co., NY

Father: Marvin PIERCE (1893-1969)

Mother: Pauline ROBINSON (1896-1949)

Children:

1. George Walker "Dubya" BUSH, b. 6 Jul 1946, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT

2. Pauline Robinson "Robin" BUSH, b. 20 Feb 1949, CA; 11 Oct 1953 (leukemia)

3. John Ellis "Jeb" BUSH (Sr.), b. 11 Feb 1953

4. Neil Mallon BUSH, b. 22 Jan 1955

5. Marvin Pierce BUSH, b. 22 Oct 1956

6. Dorothy Walker "Doro" BUSH, b. 18 Aug 1959 -------------------- Former First Lady of the United States

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Barbara Bush, First Lady's Timeline

1925
June 8, 1925
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, United States
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA
1930
Age 4
Rye, Westchester, New York
1945
January 6, 1945
Age 19
Rye, Westchester, New York, USA