Governor Tom Ridge’s Statement on the Passing of Former First Lady Barbara Bush


WASHINGTON, DC — Gov. Tom Ridge tonight issued the following statement on the passing of Barbara Bush:

“Even though we knew she had been quite ill, the news of Barbara’s passing still comes as such a shock. Perhaps it’s because Michele and I still vividly remember Barbara as that tough, quick-witted and energetic Bush family matriarch who helped campaign for us in Pennsylvania nearly 40 years ago during our first run for Congress. Elsie Hillman, cut very much from the same cloth as Barbara, first introduced us to the Bush’s in 1980 and we have been dear friends ever since. Michele and Barbara both shared a passion for literacy, and both understood the sacrifices necessary to be a First Lady.

Tonight we are thinking of Barbara and President Bush’s five children and their many grandchildren and great grandchildren who all adored her and have looked to her for guidance, support and love for so many years. And she was their rock. They will miss her dearly.

And we are especially thinking of President Bush. Barbara and her beloved George were inseparable and the perfect partners – both in life and in politics. Barbara’s self-deprecating sense of humor was the perfect foil for when the President found himself under the intense national spotlight. You could see that President Bush leaned heavily on her at those difficult, pressurized moments. In fact, he leaned on her always.

Though she was known – and beloved – for her candor, Barbara always put country before party and embraced civility in politics. She worked tirelessly to promote family literacy and served our nation with distinction as First Lady. But Barbara was most proud of the family she raised together with George … the very family who, along with a thankful nation, is grieving her loss tonight.”

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