Washington (AFP) – Former US first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at the age of 92, her husband’s office said.
“A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 92,” said a statement from the office of her now widower George H.W. Bush. They were married for 73 years.
Barbara Bush has long been considered the rock at the center of one of America’s most prominent political families, as the wife of a president, the mother of another, George W. Bush, and the mother also of a former Florida governor and onetime presidential aspirant, Jeb Bush.
She first met her husband-to-be at the age of 16; she was a schoolgirl and he was a student at an elite preparatory school in Massachusetts. They married in 1945 while he was on leave from wartime service as a naval officer. The couple had six children.
As first lady, from 1989 to 1993, she embraced the cause of universal literacy, and founded a foundation for family literacy.
She gained a reputation for toughness, wry humor and straight-speaking. Asked in 2010 about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin — who sought the vice presidency in 2008 — she told an interviewer, “I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she’ll stay there.”