'Heartbroken' George H.W. Bush Leads Nation's Mourning at Funeral of Former First Lady Barbara Bush
Former First Lady Barbara Bush was laid to rest by her large and loving family on Saturday on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas
Former First Lady Barbara Bush was laid to rest by her large and loving family on Saturday on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
It was an emotional day as Mrs. Bush’s husband of 73 years, former President George H.W. Bush, and her children, former President George W., Jeb, Dorothy, Neil and Marvin, said their final farewells at a funeral service for the family matriarch, who died at 92 on Tuesday.
Mrs. Bush also leaves behind her brother, Scott Pierce, 17 grandchildren — including George W. and Laura Bush’s twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, who also attended the funeral along with their mother — and seven great-grandchildren.
“To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, @GeorgeHWBush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush,” according to Bush family spokesperson Jim McGrath, who tweeted the detail before the funeral.
The service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, was also attended by First Lady Melania Trump, as well as former presidents and first ladies Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
President Trump was not in attendance. He previously sent his condolences in a statement on Tuesday and at a press conference on Wednesday, calling Barbara Bush a “wonderful, wonderful person” and “a titan in American life.”
The service, which was by invitation only, was held at the church that Mrs. Bush and her husband attended regularly through the years, according to the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
Several other politicians and dignitaries were also on hand to celebrate the life of the former first lady.
Mrs. Bush chose son Jeb, friend Susan Baker and historian Jon Meacham to deliver tributes at the funeral. Her grandchildren, including George W.’s Bush’s twin daughters Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, also took part in the service.
Mrs. Bush was laid to rest near her beloved late daughter, Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953, Newsweek reported.
RELATED VIDEO: Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dead At 92
Before the funeral, Mrs. Bush’s body lay in repose on Friday at the church for members of the public who wanted to pay their respects.
The Office of George H. W. Bush confirmed Mrs. Bush’s death on Tuesday, saying in a statement, “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.”
The former president’s longtime chief of staff, Jean Becker, said the 93-year-old is “broken-hearted” over the loss of his wife of 73 years.
“So many of you are asking, ‘How is 41?’ He, of course, is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara, his wife of 73 years,” Becker wrote in a statement on Tuesday night. “He held her hand all day today and was at her side when [she] left this good earth.”
The statement continued, “Obviously, this is a very challenging time. But it will not surprise all of you who know and love him, that he also is being stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family. He is determined to be there for them as well. He appreciates all the well wishes and support.”
Mrs. Bush’s son George W. Bush also made a statement paying tribute to the strong woman who raised him.
“My dear mother has passed on at age 92,” he said. “Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was.”
“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 all for your prayers and good wishes.”
Mrs. Bush’s death came days after she announced that she would no longer continue medical treatment following a series of hospitalizations in the last few years. She was last hospitalized for bronchitis in January 2017 alongside her husband, who was being treated in the ICU.
The New York native and longtime Texas resident served as America’s second lady during her husband’s tenure as vice president under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989. After her husband’s election in 1989, Mrs. Bush served as the first lady until her husband left office in 1993.
When her son George W. Bush took office in 2001, Mrs. Bush became the second first lady who was also a mother of a president, along with Abigail Adams.