The Late Barbara Bush Recalls in Her 2003 Memoir Her Husband's Sweetest Birthday Gift

The former first lady revealed just how generous and thoughtful her husband was

In the late Barbara Bush’s 2003 memoir, she recalled a moment where her husband George H.W. Bush — who died Friday at age 94 — gave her the most thoughtful birthday gift.

When they were living at the White House, President Bush gave the first lady 24 pairs of Keds sneakers, Politico reported.

“I had mentioned in passing that although there were hundreds of different kinds of athletic shoes, it was really hard to buy Keds, the old-fashioned sneaker,” she wrote.

Sharing her sense of humor, Mrs. Bush added, “The next time I’m going to say diamonds, for on my birthday George dragged in a bag of twenty-four different styles, colors, and patterns of Keds.”

Evan Sisley/Office of George Bush

Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager also mentioned their late grandmother’s love for Keds in their memoir, Sisters First.

“Sixty-year-old Barbara Bush might not have worn two different-colored sneakers, but by age eighty, she loved to pair a pink shoe with a red one from her closetful of colorful Keds,” they wrote, according to AJC.

The 41st president of the United States died Friday night at 10:10 p.m., his spokesperson Jim McGrath confirmed. His death comes nearly eight months after his beloved wife Barbara died on April 17. The pair met as teenagers, and their storybook marriage lasted 73 years.

Even after her death, the lifelong Republican remained devoted to his bride, sitting beside her casket for hours in his wheelchair as mourners paid their respects while she laid in repose one day before her invitation-only funeral.

But the weight of her passing clearly took a toll on Bush, who was admitted to the intensive care unit of Houston Methodist Hospital less than 24 hours after her funeral, after contracting an infection that spread to his blood.

The Bush family,(L-R) Texas Governor and president
The Bush family. JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty

He later recovered and traveled to the family’s beloved summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, in mid-May, but a week later was readmitted to the hospital for low blood pressure and fatigue.

Former President George W. Bush shared a heartwarming tribute to his father and to his parents’ love on Instagram shortly after the news was announced on Friday.

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” George W. Bush captioned a poignant photo, which shows his late father walking arm and arm with his wife.

“George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for the 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens,” George W. Bush added.

“Waking up missing this giant of a man who gave me everything,” Bush Hager wrote on Instagram Saturday.

“He taught me and my family about service, family, decency, the power of gentle words and a beautiful heart,” she continued, adding that while she “will miss him desperately,” she’s “so happy he and my Grandmother are back together.”

Alongside the touching tribute, she shared a series of family snapshots taken through the years.

Jenna went on to pen a lengthier post alongside a touching cartoon that showed her grandfather being reunited in heaven with his wife and their daughter Robin, who died at the age of 3 of leukemia.

In the image, Bush’s late wife and daughter tell him “we waited for you,” as all three of them hold hands in the clouds.

“This brought me such comfort this morning,” she wrote before sharing a conversation about death that she had with her grandfather before he died at age 94 on Friday.

“I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation. ‘Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be afraid of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it,’” she continued. “And I started crying. I managed to choke out, ‘Well, why? What do you look forward to?’ ”

In response, he said: “ ‘Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.’ And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom.”

Her grandfather went on to share that he didn’t know whether his daughter would still look like “the three year old that she was, this chubby, vivacious child,” when they saw each other again, or whether she would be all grown up.

“And then he said, ‘I hope she’s the three-year-old,’” she continued before revealing a sweet memory Bush shared with his entire family of his late daughter. “Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: ‘I Love you more than tongue can tell.’ ”

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