In Memoriam: First Lady Barbara Bush (1925-2018)

George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush (AFP / Getty)
AFP / Getty

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92, two days after her family spokesman, Jim McGrath, announced that she would seek “comfort care” rather than additional medical treatment for her ailing health.

Bush, who was born Barbara Pierce, remains one of the most universally admired women to hold the title of First Lady. She married one man who later became president, and raised another, and brought a sharp wit, a matronly demeanor, and an air of gravitas to one of the most visible public roles in American political and social life.

In one infamous incident in 1992, Mrs. Bush filled in for her husband after he collapsed suddenly during a state dinner being given in his honor in Japan. After President Bush was rushed to the hospital, First Lady Barbara Bush remained behind to continue the evening’s toasts and speeches.

McGrath announced Mrs. Bush’s passing on Twitter:

The statement read:

A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away April 17, 2018 at the age of 92. She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H. W. Bush; five children and their spouses; 17 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and her brother, Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.

McGrath had released a statement on Sunday: “It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others. She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”

Fox News medical correspondent Marc Siegel commented in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that “Barbara Bush … is facing death with fortitude, courage and realism. She should inspire everyone in the medical arena, doctors and patients alike. … It has taken me many years to accept that Mrs. Bush and those like her are the most courageous. I suspect millions of others would agree.”

During the 2016 campaign, Mrs. Bush was scathing in her criticism of then-candidate Donald Trump. “I don’t know how women can vote for” him, she told CBS News.

Nevertheless, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump issued a joint statement on Tuesday “celebrating the life of Barbara Bush.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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