HOUSTON (AP) — Barbara Bush, the snowy-haired first lady whose plain-spoken manner and utter lack of pretense made her more popular at times than her husband, President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday, a family spokesman said. She was 92.
Mrs. Bush brought a grandmotherly style to buttoned-down Washington, D.C., often appearing in her trademark fake pearl chokers and displaying no vanity about her white hair and wrinkles.
“What you see with me is what you get. I’m not running for president — George Bush is,” she said at the 1988 Republican National Convention, where her husband, then vice president, was nominated to succeed Ronald Reagan.
The Bushes, who were married Jan. 6, 1945, had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. And Mrs. Bush was one of only two first ladies who had a child who was elected president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.
“I had the best job in America,” she wrote in a 1994 memoir describing her time in the White House. “Every single day was interesting, rewarding, and sometimes just plain fun.”
On Sunday, family spokesman Jim McGrath said the former first lady had decided to decline further medical treatment for health problems and focus instead on “comfort care” at home in Houston.
She had been in the hospital recently for congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In 2009, she had heart valve replacement surgery and had a long history of treatment for Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition.
She is survived by her husband and five children. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
Utah public officials were among those offering their thoughts and condolences.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called Barbara Bush “the great First Lady of our times.”
Barbara raised a family of service & character, stood by her beloved husband in the best & worst of times, and spoke her convictions with courage & passion. The great First Lady of our times. Ann and I will profoundly miss her friendship, her compassion, & the twinkle of her eye.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) April 17, 2018
From Sen. Orrin Hatch:
Today, we lost a woman of wit, grace, humility, and humor. Through the eloquence of her example, Barbara Bush inspired us all to be the best version of ourselves. I count myself lucky to have known Barbara and even luckier to have called her a friend. Tonight, my prayers are with the Bush family and all those who were touched by the life of this remarkable woman.
From Congresswoman Mia Love, via Twitter:
From Gov. Gary Herbert:
Barbara Bush helped mold the character of some of our nation’s most principled governors and presidents. She was a class act who demonstrated how a nurturing spouse, children and grandchildren can contribute to the benefit of a community, a state, a nation and a world.
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) April 17, 2018
From State Sen. Todd Weiler:
I will miss Barbara Bush, the nation’s grandma.
— Todd Weiler (@gopTODD) April 17, 2018
Written by MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press | St. George New reporter Mori Kessler contributed to the story.
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