Barbara Bush as a Role Model - Former First Lady

Role Model Political Wife and Mother

Name:Barbara Pierce Bush

Born:June 8, 1925 in New York City

Parents:Pauline and Marvin Pierce, Barbara was the third child. Her father later became the president of McCall's Magazine.

Childhood Home:Rye, New York. She had a happy, active childhood. She felt a special bond with her father. She learned to love sports and developed a good sense of humor from being with her father. She later attended boarding school at Ashley Hall in South Carolina.

Met Her Husband:George Bush at a Christmas dance in 1941. She was just 16. Romance blossomed and they were married in January 6, 1945. Barbara jokes: "My successful life is a result of marrying well!"

College:Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. Left college during World War II to marry George Bush.

Young Married Life:After George graduated from Yale after World War II, Barbara and George moved out to Texas to start their life together. George built a business in the oil industry. Barbara and George had six children.: President George W.( former Governor of Texas), Robin, Jeb (Governor of Florida), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Their daughter Robin died of leukemia just before she turned four years old. Her death left Barbara and George Bush with a lifelong compassion. She says, "Because of Robin, George and I love every living human being more."

While George built a business, Barbara became the family mom, providing everything from discipline to carpools. She was often both mother and father to her children. She had her share of ball games, PTA meetings, homework, and many other activities that involved her family. She was always a very devoted wife to George.

Entry Into Political Life:Barbara stood by George as they entered their political life. During their political career, Barbara has had the responsibility of moving and settling her family 29 times during their marriage! Usually she could have things running smoothly in a new home within a week.

First George turned to politics and then public service. With Texas as a home base, George Bush served as a member of Congress, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and eventually as Vice President and President of the United States of America.

As a Role Model:Barbara Bush was always an asset to her husband during his campaigns for public office. Her friendly, forthright manner won her high marks from the voters and the press.

As wife of the Vice President, she selected the promotion of literacy as her special cause. As First Lady, she called working for a more literate America the "most import issue we have." Involved with many organizations and devoted to this cause, Mrs. Bush served on literacy committees and chaired many reading organizations. Eventually she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The mission of her foundation is to support the development of family literacy programs, to break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy, and establish literacy as a value in every American family.

Barbara Bush has been dedicated to her belief that everyone should know how to read. She has said, "Our young people need to know that reading is a joy as well as the most essential of skills. Both children and adults should come to know that libraries are inviting, accessible places dedicated to the joy of reading."

By visiting literary programs across the U.S., she witnesses, first hand, the powerful impact reading has on those who were previously illiterate. She still serves as honorary chair of the Foundation and hosts its annual fund-raiser, "A Celebration of Reading." She regularly donates a portion of her proceeds to the foundation's causes.

Other Causes She Supports:A strong advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush helps many causes -- including the homeless, AIDS, the elderly, and school volunteer programs.

Devoted to her family, Mrs. Bush still finds time to serve on the Boards of AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic Foundation. She continues her prominent role in the Barbara Bush Foundation. She is a strong supporter of the Leukemia Society of America, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Other Activities:Barbara Bush regularly appeared on "Mrs. Bush's Story Time," a national radio program that stresses the importance of reading aloud to children.

Books She Authored: Barbara has authored several books:C. Fred's Story and the best-selling Millie's Book, about her dog. Most recently she wrote Barbara Bush: A Memoir. Her best-selling autobiography emphasizes the importance of family, faith and friends.

Quote About Barbara:"Barbara Bush set an example for her family and for our country as a woman who could devote and dedicate herself to her beliefs. She is a fine example of all the good that comes from upholding strong, forthright values." -- Alice Sumsion

Current Homes:Main home in Houston, Texas; and a summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine

Nickname:Barbara Bush calls herself "Everybody's Grandmother".

Quote About Herself:Barbara says people like her because "They know I'm fair, and I like children, and I adore my husband!"