Former first lady, Barbara Bush, died on Tuesday. Her health had been failing and she decided to no longer “seek additional medical treatment”. She leaves a lasting legacy behind her, including five children, her grandchildren and a passion for literacy.
Born in 1925, Bush grew up in New York and attended a South Carolina boarding school. There, she met her future husband, George H.W. Bush, whom she later married in 1945.
After supporting her husband’s political career for many years, he was first elected vice president in 1980, and then as president in 1988, making Barbara Bush First Lady of the United States.
Compared to current First Lady, Melania Trump, Bush seemed to thrive as leading lady in the White House. She tended to her husband and children and had some of her best memories while staying in the White House.
In her autobiography, Bush wrote, “If someone doesn’t like being the first lady, then there’s something wrong with her. It’s a big opportunity.”
What sort of opportunities did Bush create while staying in the White House? She worked to remove the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding AIDS. And as a writer herself, she was also passionate about literacy. In fact, she chose to make literacy her cause while her husband served as vice president.
Upon becoming First Lady, she started the nonprofit Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy – a cause which raised over $1 billion following her time in the White House. This foundation supports literary, as well as cancer charities.
But why literacy? Bush shared that “I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society.”