For­mer 1st lady Bar­bara Bush in fail­ing health

The Detroit News - - News - BY MICHAEL GRACZYK As­so­ci­ated Press

Hous­ton – For­mer first lady Bar­bara Bush is in “fail­ing health” and won’t seek ad­di­tional med­i­cal treat­ment, a Bush fam­ily spokesman said Sun­day.

“Fol­low­ing a re­cent se­ries of hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, and af­ter con­sult­ing her fam­ily and doc­tors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has de­cided not to seek ad­di­tional med­i­cal treat­ment and will in­stead fo­cus on com­fort care,” spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news re­lease.

McGrath did not elab­o­rate as to the na­ture of Bush’s health prob­lems. She has been treated for decades for Graves’ dis­ease, which is a thy­roid con­di­tion, had heart surgery in 2009 for a se­vere nar­row­ing of her main heart valve and was hos­pi­tal­ized a year be­fore that for surgery on a per­fo­rated ul­cer.

“It will not sur­prise those who know her that Bar­bara Bush has been a rock in the face of her fail­ing health, wor­ry­ing not for her­self —thanks to her abid­ing faith — but for oth­ers,” McGrath said. “She is sur­rounded by a fam­ily she adores, and ap­pre­ci­ates the many kind mes­sages and es­pe­cially the prayers she is re­ceiv­ing.”

Bush, who is at home in Hous­ton, is one of only two first ladies who was also the mother of a pres­i­dent. The other was Abi­gail Adams, wife of John Adams, the nation’s se­cond pres­i­dent, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth pres­i­dent.

Bush mar­ried Ge­orge H.W. Bush on Jan. 6, 1945. They had six chil­dren and have been mar­ried longer than any pres­i­den­tial cou­ple in Amer­i­can history.

Eight years af­ter she and her hus­band left the White House, Mrs. Bush stood with her hus­band as their son Ge­orge W. was sworn in as the 43rd pres­i­dent.

She’s known for her white hair and her triplestrand fake pearl neck­lace.

Her brown hair be­gan to gray in the 1950s, while her 3-year-old daugh­ter Pauline, known to her fam­ily as Robin, un­der­went treat­ment for leukemia and even­tu­ally died in Oc­to­ber 1953. She later said dyed hair didn’t look good on her and cred­ited the color to the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of her as “ev­ery­body’s grand­mother.”

Her pearls sparked a na­tional fash­ion trend when she wore them to her hus­band’s in­au­gu­ra­tion in 1989. The pearls be­came syn­ony­mous with Bush, who later said she se­lected them to hide the wrin­kles in her neck. The can­did ad­mis­sion only bol­stered her com­mon sense and down-to-earth pub­lic im­age.

Chris Wilkins / Getty Images

Eight years af­ter Bar­bara Bush and her hus­band left the White House, she watched their son Ge­orge W. sworn in as the 43rd pres­i­dent.

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