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Barbara Bush: What you should know about the former first lady

Former first lady Barbara Bush, 92, is in failing health and has decided not to seek further treatment, according to a family spokesman. Along with Abigail Adams, Bush holds the distinction of being the wife of one president and the mother of another. Here are some other facts about the wife of the nation’s 41st president, George H.W. Bush.

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Presidential timber: Not only is Barbara Bush the wife of George H.W. Bush and the mother of the 43rd president, George W. Bush, she also is the fourth cousin, four generations removed, of the nation’s 14th president, Franklin Pierce. She is related to Pierce through her father, Marvin Pierce. 

>> Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Meeting George: Barbara Pierce met George H.W. Bush in 1941 at a dance at the Round Hill Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. They became engaged just before George Bush left to become a Navy torpedo bomber pilot during World War II. They were married on Jan. 6, 1945 and have been married 73 years.

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Politician’s wife: Barbara and George had six children: George, Pauline Robinson (known as Robin; she died of leukemia in 1953), John Ellis (Jeb), Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. During George H.W. Bush’s career as a businessman and a politician, Barbara supervised 29 household moves.

>> Photos: Barbara Bush through the years

That white hair: Barbara’s brown hair turned white during Robin’s treatment for leukemia. While in the White House, Barbara’s hair gave her a grandmotherly look, and her son George dubbed her “The Silver Fox.”

She’s a pearl: The triple-string false pearl necklace Barbara wore to her husband’s inauguration in January 1989 became a national fashion trend. She later said she wore the pearls to cover the wrinkles in her neck.

Book smart: In 1984 Barbara wrote “C. Fred’s Story,” which was about the Bush family dog. "Millie's Book," about another Bush family dog was published in 1990. It was published a year after the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy was founded. In 1994, Barbara published her memoirs.

Information from wire services was also used in this report

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