She was the former first lady who was equally committed to being a champion for the environment as she was for her husband’s career in the White House. Lady Bird Johnson, the widow of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died of natural causes at her Austin, Texas home Wednesday. She was 94.
Johnson, who suffered a stroke in 2002 that affected her ability to speak, returned home late last month after a week at Seton Medical Center, where she’d been admitted for a low-grade fever. Even after the stroke, Johnson still managed to make occasional public appearances and get outdoors to enjoy her beloved wildflowers. But she was unable to speak more than a few short phrases.
Other former first ladies remembered Johnson on Wednesday as deeply devoted to her family and conservation. “Her beautification programs benefited the entire nation. She translated her love for the land and the environment into a lifetime of achievement,” remarked Betty Ford.
Nancy Reagan said that when Lyndon Johnson was called upon to take the oath of office in the face of tragedy after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, “he did so with his courageous wife beside him.” She said Lady Bird Johnson served the nation with honour and dignity. “I believe above all else that Lady Bird will always be remembered as a loyal and devoted wife, a loving and caring mother and a proud and nurturing grandmother,” said Reagan.
Johnson leaves behind her two daughters, seven grandchildren, a step-grandchild, and several great-grandchildren. Lyndon Johnson died in 1973, four years after the Johnsons left the White House.