Former Barbara Bush aide looks back at former first lady's life

Naturally, the table conversation revolved around this remarkable woman.

The Bush matriarch's funeral will be held Saturday at the Houston church where she and her family have worshipped since the early 1950s. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.

Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who are unable to attend, called Mrs. Bush the "matriarch of a family dedicated to serving."
You could almost hear her explaining the rapid notice: Well, of course. Afterward, she received so many threats she felt it necessary to cancel public appearances.

The former Republican president said that Bono had come to the ranch to talk about The Bush Center, One Campaign, and PEPFAR, groups that work to combat poverty in Africa and AIDS.

On a hot summer day in 1978, as her husband mulled his first presidential run, Barbara Bush headed to Houston's leafy Memorial Park for a jog while she thought about what issues she'd like to focus on should she become first lady.

But there was another, no less admirable part of that generation, epitomized by Mrs. Bush. The two met at a Christmas party, she 16 in a green-and-red holiday dress and he a year older. Because he couldn't waltz, they sat and talked and fell in love.

As the nation prepares to bid farewell to a former first lady, for one Chicago woman, the goodbye is particularly close to home.

In an event that was anything but somber Bush was remembered for her strength, her humor, and her ability to connect to others.

When he returned on leave, she had discontinued her studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and they were married two weeks later at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York.

Sandra Brown knew she had a friend in Barbara Bush from the moment she heard the story about the 2000 election, when then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush was in a virtual tie with then-Vice President Al Gore for the presidency.

"Her life has been an outstanding example of what it means to be a devoted wife, a devoted mother and a very involved citizen - a very, very faithful citizen of Houston".

For Mrs. Bush, the right thing always involved service to others. She was, as my Post colleague Karen Tumulty wrote, "as authentic as her pearls were fake".

Staying in touch all these years, an incredible bonus after leaving the role as Mrs. Bush's personal aide in 1993.

The program included a performance by the 60 voices that make up the Houston Children's Chorus, who performed more than 30 times for President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. "May the glory of the risen Lord transform our sorrow into serenity".

  • Montenegro Chinchilla