Former first lady passes away - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Former first lady passes away

Posted: Updated:
Lady Bird Johnson Lady Bird Johnson

AUSTIN, Texas - Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died Wednesday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 94.

Lady Bird Johnson returned home late last month after a week at Seton Medical Center, where she'd been admitted for a low-grade fever. Her husband died in 1973.

She died at her Austin home of natural causes about 4:18 p.m. CDT, said Elizabeth Christian, the spokeswoman. She said she was surrounded by family and friends.

She was hospitalized with a stroke in 2002 that left her with difficulty speaking. But even after that she continued to make public appearances and in May attended an event at the LBJ Library and Museum featuring historian Robert Dallek.

In March, she listened from Texas through a conference call when President Bush signed legislation naming the Education Department headquarters building in Washington, D.C., after her late husband.

The longest-living first lady in history was Bess Truman, who was 97 when she died in 1982.

‘Grace and ... elegance'
The daughter of a Texas rancher, Lady Bird Johnson spent 34 years in Washington, as the wife of a congressional secretary, U.S. representative, senator, vice president and president. The couple had two daughters, Lynda Bird, born in 1944, and Luci Baines, born in 1947. The couple returned to Texas after the presidency, and Lady Bird Johnson lived for more than 30 years in and near Austin.

"I think we all love seeing those we love loved well, and Austin has loved my mother very well. This community has been so caring," Luci Baines Johnson said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2001.

"People often ask me about walking in her shadow, following in the footsteps of somebody like Lady Bird Johnson," she said. "My mother made her own unique imprint on this land."

Former President George Bush once recalled that when he was a freshman Republican congressman from Texas in the 1960s, Lady Bird Johnson and the president welcomed him to Washington with kindness, despite their political differences.

He said she exemplified "the grace and the elegance and the decency and sincerity that you would hope for in the White House."

Championed the environment
As first lady, she was perhaps best known as the determined environmentalist who wanted roadside billboards and junkyards replaced with trees and wildflowers. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to beautify Washington. The $320 million Highway Beautification Bill, passed in 1965, was known as "The Lady Bird Bill," and she made speeches and lobbied Congress to win its passage.

"Had it not been for her, I think that the whole subject of the environment might not have been introduced to the public stage in just the way it was and just the time it was. So she figures mightily, I think, in the history of the country if for no other reason than that alone," Harry Middleton, retired director of the LBJ Library and Museum, once said.

(MSNBC)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Detectives identify woman found in Spokane River

    Detectives identify woman found in Spokane River

    Thursday, September 20 2018 8:35 PM EDT2018-09-21 00:35:31 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Detectives have identified the woman found in the Spokane River September 15 just hours after releasing a rending of what she may have looked like. Detectives continue to work to determine what occurred prior to her death.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Detectives have identified the woman found in the Spokane River September 15 just hours after releasing a rending of what she may have looked like. Detectives continue to work to determine what occurred prior to her death.

    >>
  • Suge Knight pleads to manslaughter over fatal confrontation

    Suge Knight pleads to manslaughter over fatal confrontation

    Thursday, September 20 2018 5:16 PM EDT2018-09-20 21:16:55 GMT

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.    The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.

    >>

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.    The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.

    >>
  • School bus drops off kids over an hour late after driver was lost

    School bus drops off kids over an hour late after driver was lost

    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:24 PM EDT2018-09-21 02:24:04 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Durham Bus Services has had a rough start to the school year. Less, than one week in, Durham had to answer for a bus driver who dropped off a kindergartner at the wrong bus stop. Then, they had to respond to parents' concerns about overcrowding on school buses. On Thursday, they were once again addressing a serious parent concern.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Durham Bus Services has had a rough start to the school year. Less, than one week in, Durham had to answer for a bus driver who dropped off a kindergartner at the wrong bus stop. Then, they had to respond to parents' concerns about overcrowding on school buses. On Thursday, they were once again addressing a serious parent concern.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/