Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s ties to South Florida


Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s ties to South Florida are anchored by family, friends and philanthropy.

Her son, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and mother-in-law, Dorothy Walker Bush, frequently received her as a guest in their homes in South Florida and on Jupiter Island.

Former President George Bush’s father, Prescott Bush, bought a home on Jupiter Island in the 1960s. It’s a place where the family vacationed for decades and where Dorothy Walker Bush lived for part of the year until near her death at 91 years old in 1992.

PHOTOS: Barbara Bush through the years.

Barbara Bush’s support of literacy also played a role in bringing her to Florida, as well as support for children with AIDS during the height of the epidemic in the early 1990s.

In 1988, Barbara Bush arrived triumphantly at Palm Beach International Airport with her president-elect husband for the couple’s first vacation since the Republican convention three months earlier.

They were accompanied by their English springer spaniel, Millie, and greeted by then Gov. and Mrs. Bob Martinez and other supporters. George Bush told reporters that everything was “perfect” before his seven-car motorcade headed down Interstate 95.

The couple spent the weekend with longtime friend William Stamps Farish III at his oceanfront home in Gulf Stream.

One of Barbara Bush’s official photographers was former Palm Beach Post and Miami Herald photographer Carol Powers, who accepted the post in the White House in 1989. Powers worked at The Post in 1983 and 1984.

Barbara Bush made a stop to West Palm Beach in 1990 to visit Connor’s Nursery. At the time, the nursery was the state’s only shelter for children with Aids.

While at the nursery, Barbara Bush cracked one-liners, cooed baby talk and encouraged the community to help AIDS victims, according to a Palm Beach Post story.

“It’s important to know that you can love and hug and change these babies and be spit upon and you can’t get AIDS,” she said. “You can’t get AIDS from holding babies. If I didn’t know that before, I learned that from Ryan White.”

In 1992, Barbara Bush made a fund-raising visit to Florida, stopping at the Poinciana Club in Palm Beach for a $1,000-a-plate dinner for her husband’s re-election campaign. The stop was part of a statewide tour that raised $216,000 in Palm Beach County alone.

After her time as first lady ended, she still returned to the Sunshine State.

In 1999, she traveled to South Florida to visit her son Jeb Bush in 1999 where she read to children at the Feinberg/Fisher Elementary and Adult Education Center in Miami Beach. She was there to help kick off the governor’s Family Literacy Initiative.

Barbara Bush stumped for her son Jeb during his 2002 campaign for governor. Weeks before the election, she told family stories that earned laughs from an audience in Cape Coral, and doled out grandmotherly advice.

“Never lend your car to someone you gave birth to, or somebody they gave birth to,” she said.

In 2003, Barbara Bush spoke at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, sharing what she learned during her life, including “don’t take life too seriously.”

Another pearl of wisdom she shared during that 2003 visit: “Life is a gift, and we must not waste it.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Ex-Santaluces student gets 35 years in fatal shooting of 16-year-old classmate
Ex-Santaluces student gets 35 years in fatal shooting of 16-year-old classmate

Frank Quarles on Friday was sentenced to 35 years in prison for fatally shooting a 16-year-old fellow student at Santaluces High School in February 2012 in a dispute over a bicycle. Quarles, who was 15 when he shot Michael Coogle-Robertson in a park in the Seminole Manor neighborhood near Lantana, will not be eligible for release until he serves 35...
One-armed Gardens golfer, 7, to be on Steve Harvey’s ‘Little Big Shots’
One-armed Gardens golfer, 7, to be on Steve Harvey’s ‘Little Big Shots’

Tommy Morrissey, a 7-year-old golf prodigy born with one arm, is no stranger to the spotlight. RELATED: Honda Classic 2017: Inspirational Gardens boy missing arm outhits pros He appeared on “The Ellen Show” when he was 3 years old. He traveled to Indonesia at age 4 to inspire other children with physical differences. He challenged PGA pros...
West Palm officer makes history as city’s first woman SWAT member
West Palm officer makes history as city’s first woman SWAT member

Before West Palm Beach police even hired her, Sarah Burgoon knew she’d be the department’s first woman SWAT member.  The undaunted 35-year-old officer didn’t think it’d be easy. She didn’t want it to be.  This month, Burgoon ran, shot and sweated her way past her male colleagues and into West Palm Beach...
A reprieve? Immigration officials cancel meeting with Palm Beach restaurant manager
A reprieve? Immigration officials cancel meeting with Palm Beach restaurant manager

Francisco Javier Gonzalez’s meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials was canceled Friday, and the Palm Beach restaurant manager will likely be granted an extended stay into the summer, according to his lawyer. Gonzalez, the manager of Pizza Al Fresco in Palm Beach, had a meeting scheduled at an ICE office in Miramar on...
Swedish musician Avicii dies at 28
Swedish musician Avicii dies at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.
More Stories