By Gina Martinez
Flushing-born Former First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday following a battle with an unspecified illness. She was 92.
Bush died two days after her family released a statement announcing she would discontinue treatment after a series of hospitalizations and would opt for comfort care.
Born on June 8, 1925, at Booth Memorial Hospital in Flushing, Barbara Pierce became the first lady during the 1989-1993 Presidency of George H.W. Bush and was the mother of the 43rd president, George W. Bush, who occupied the office from 2001 to 2009.
Bush was raised in Rye, N.Y., by parents Pauline and Marvin Pierce. Her father was president of the McCall Corporation, a women’s magazine publisher. She met her future husband at a school dance at Ashley Hall in Charleston, S.C., in 1945. After World War II and a stint at Smith College, she married at 19 and had six children, including a daughter named Robin, who died of leukemia at 3 years old in 1953.
Bush had the distinction of being the second woman to be the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, the first being Abigail Adams. She also was a descendant of President Franklin Pierce.
Her son, George W. Bush, released a statement following her death calling her a fabulous first lady and “a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions.”
“Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end,” he said. “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.”
According to George W., she spent her last day with her husband of 73 years, who was with her until her final moments.
Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath did not specify Bush’s health issues but she has been treated for Grave’s disease in the past.
In a 2013 interview with C-SPAN she addressed her beliefs.
“I don’t have a fear of death for my precious George or for myself because I know that there is a great God,” she said. “I know we’ll see Robin again, one way or another, and our families. I have a great faith.”
The Bush family will hold a private funeral service at Houston’s St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Saturday.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart