HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Pierce Bush died Tuesday surrounded by family, a family spokesman said. She was 92.
The news was confirmed before 6:45 p.m. by spokesman Jim McGrath.
McGrath said Sunday that following a recent series of hospitalizations and after consulting with her family and doctors, she decided not to seek additional medical treatment and would instead focus on comfort care.
Born in 1925 to Pauline and Marvin Pierce, Barbara Pierce Bush grew up in Rye, New York, where she met and later married George H.W. Bush on Jan. 6, 1945. Barbara Bush’s signature cause was family literacy, a passion that began during the 1980s when statistics showed that 35 million adults in the U.S. could not read above the eighth-grade level.
“Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.” – Barbara Bush
As first lady, Mrs. Bush took the family literacy movement to a new level of awareness when she launched the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The foundation focused on both early childhood education for preschoolers as well as adult literacy for their parents.
The foundation has raised and awarded money to create or expand family literacy programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. She also served as a board member for the Mayo Clinic Foundation and was a supporter of organizations including the Leukemia Society of America, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.
"If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities." – Barbara Bush
In 1991, Mrs. Bush and other advocates celebrated the passage of the National Literacy Act, which created the National Institute for Literacy and allowed for the use of libraries and other municipal property as evening literacy centers for adults. Since leaving the White House, Mrs. Bush continued to volunteer her time to worthy causes and help others.
“Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life's blood. But everyone has something to give.” – Barbara Bush
Several schools have been named for Mrs. Bush, including middle schools in San Antonio and Irving, Texas; and elementary schools in Houston, and Grand Prairie.
Mrs. Bush leaves behind four sons, George W., Jeb, Marvin, and Neil, a daughter, Dorothy, 17 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Robin Bush, George and Barbara's second child, died of leukemia when she was almost 4 years old. She died in October of 1953.
Mrs. Bush will lay in repose at St. Martin's Church in Houston on Friday, where the public will be able to pay their respects starting at 11 a.m.
The funeral will be Saturday at St. Martin's. The service will be by invitation only, and strict security measures will be in place.