Former first lady Barbara Bush has died at her Texas home. She was 92.
She passed away shortly after announcing she was stopping treatment for her failing health. Her death was announced by the office of former President George H.W. Bush.
She had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as congestive heart failure.
“My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna and I are sad but our souls are settled because we know hers was,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement. "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 for your prayers and good wishes.”
She was the mother and wife of former presidents, sharing that distinction only with Abigail Adams.
Leadership, it seems, ran in Barbara's blood.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City in 1925, she was a distant related of the 14th U.S. president, Franklin Pierce, through her magazine executive father, Marvin "Monk" Pierce.
Barbara Pierce was raised in the suburb of Rye, N.Y., where she spent as much of her free time reading as much as she could. It was a pastime that would inform her work as first lady, when she would make promotion of literacy her special cause, according to WhiteHouse.gov.
Barbara would go on to attend boarding school in South Carolina, and it was at a dance during Christmas vacation at age 16 that she met George Bush, a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.
Pierce and Bush were engaged a year and a half later before the future president went to war as the Navy's youngest fighter pilot. He was just shy of 19.
The two were married on Jan. 6, 1945 and later settled in Texas, where their family grew, along with George’s oil business.
George and Barbara would go on to have six children. Tragically, though, their second child, a girl named Robin, would die as a result of childhood leukemia at age 3.
After stints as a U.S. congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, RNC chairman, chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and vice president, George became the 41st president and Barbara found herself in the White House as first lady.
In 44 years of marriage, Barbara managed the family's 29 moves. It was a dedication that she would point to later, with characteristic directness, when surmising why America was fond of her.
"I’m fair and I like children and I adore my husband," she said.
Barbara's parenting would help mold her eldest, George W. Bush, into an American president.
Her younger son would grow up to become the 43rd governor of Florida and himself a presidential contender.
While her mothering skills were clear, the consummate lady was, of course, too modest to credit them for her family's success.
"I've known for years that I was the luckiest woman in the world," she once said. "I do have the most marvelous husband, children, and grandchildren."