Remembering Barbara Bush: the 'Leading Light' of Houston

| © U.S. National Archives / Flickr
Lauren Rogers

While the nation still mourns the loss of Barbara Bush, a former first lady and mother of a president, no city feels the pain more than her home, Houston.

Born in New York but a resident of Texas since the 1950s, the matriarch of the Bush political dynasty will be remembered as a woman who reflected her city: outspoken, strong, and accepting of others.

Her funeral service, held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church–where she and former President Bush once handed out coffee in the mornings–was attended by former presidents Obama and Clinton, their wives, and current First Lady, Melania Trump. Other dignitaries from around the world made the trip to Houston to honor the memory of Bar, as she was called, before she was laid to rest on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.

Even at 92-years-old, Barbara regularly walked in her Tanglewood neighborhood, often joined by her two little Maltipoos, Bibi and Mini-Me. A salt-of-the-earth, outspoken woman, Barbara was “best known to the world as the wife of a president and the mother of another,” said Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, “but in Houston we also knew her as a local leading light, an achiever in her own right who spoke and acted from the heart and the gut.”

Just a few of Barbara’s Houstonian living legacies: Barbara Bush branch library, Barbara Bush Elementary School, Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.

After Hurricane Harvey, Barbara, along with her daughter-in-law Laura, donated $2 million through their foundations to restore Houston’s libraries and send school supplies to those in need.

The Houston Astros and Rockets both released statements mourning the loss of one of their favorite fans. During Astros games, Barbara famously kept score throughout the game. She even signed a copy of her scoresheets for Mike Acosta to keep.

Houston Texans icon J.J. Watt called her a “beautiful light in this world.”

Although Barbara was living in a liberal-leaning city and the head of a Republican dynasty, she vibrantly connected to the political turnings of her home and her country. She openly supported the first gay mayor of Houston, Annise D. Parker, even telling her she “could have been a Bush.” She was also very outspoken about her feelings on the current political climate, saying, “I don’t know how any woman could vote for Trump.”

Barbara Bush’s influence will surely be felt for generations to come, with Texas serving as the foundation of her legacy. Russ Levenson, her personal pastor said it best, “One can’t underestimate the truly Godly qualities of Barbara Bush, that gentility, that humility, the quality of concern and care for others around her.” One single person might not understand, but the city of Houston, Texas always will.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article