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Former US first lady Barbara Bush dies at 92

Former first lady Barbara Bush, one of only two women in American history to have been both the wife and the mother of a United States president, died in her home in Houston on Tuesday at the age of 92.
She had been in declining health for some time and recently decided not to seek further treatment.
Known for her shock of white hair and trademark pearls, Barbara Bush was quickly branded the nation’s “grandmother in chief” when her husband, President George H.W. Bush, ascended to the White House in 1988. But her matronly appearance and polite disposition concealed a sharp tongue and devilish wit that she later became known for, as she increasingly stepped forward as her husband’s defender during his presidency and a rough-and-tumble reelection campaign that he ultimately lost to Bill Clinton.
While her husband was the linchpin of a multigenerational political dynasty, Bush provided much of the steel in the family. Forgoing a career of her own to take care of her kids and support her spouse’s political ambitions, she once said, “My career was my family.” She was of a generation where women were largely defined by their fathers and whom they married, but as the times changed, so did she, gradually showing more of the strong personality that led her kids to lovingly describe her as “the enforcer.”
Born Barbara Pierce, she was raised in the tony New York City suburb of Rye, the third of four daughters born to Pauline and Marvin Pierce, a prominent magazine publisher whose titles included McCall’s, one of the first publications aimed at women.
Barbara Pierce, the future Barbara Bush, is shown in her graduation photo from Ashley Hall, a finishing school in Charleston, S.C., in 1943. (Photo: AP)

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