Living First Ladies: Barbara Bush’s Death Reduces The Number To Five, Counting Melania Trump

Manuel Balce CenetaAP Images

The number of living first ladies of the United States, including the current FLOTUS, Melania Trump, is now five, with the death of Barbara Bush.

As Huffington Post reports, the wife of 41st President George H.W. Bush and the mother of 43rd President George W. Bush died Tuesday at the age of 92. Like her daughter-in-law Laura Bush, she was a champion of children’s literacy during her time in office, and established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Later in life she devoted her efforts to AIDS awareness and cancer research.

With the elder Mrs. Bush’s passing, the number of living first ladies is reduced by one.

Here now is a list of living first ladies in order of their time in the position, as well as a bit of history and trivia about them.

Rosalyn Carter

Rosalyn Carter is both the oldest living first lady and the one whose term in the ceremonial office was the furthest removed from present day. Born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith in 1927 (she is now 90), Mrs. Carter married James Earl “Jimmy” Carter in 1946. She and Jimmy had four children, John William “Jack” (b. 1947), James Earl “Chip” III (b. 1950), Donnel Jeffrey “Jeff” (b. 1952), and Amy Lynn (b. 1967).

Rosalyn carter was first lady to jimmy carter
Rosalyn Carter in 2006Featured image credit: Laura RauchAP Images

During her time in office, Mrs. Carter was the mother to a young child, Amy, who lived with the family at the White House. As such, she limited her first lady duties. Nevertheless, she championed a couple of causes, including renovations to a crumbling Washington hospital, as well as awareness of mental health.

Hillary Clinton

Born Hillary Diane Rodham in Chicago in 1947 (she is now 70), Mrs. Clinton married William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton in 1975. They had one child, Chelsea, born in 1980. Like Rosalyn Carter before her, Mrs. Clinton was the mother of a young child living in the White House. However, unlike Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Clinton was much more active in championing her causes, which included health care and saving historic artifacts, among others.

Hillary Clinton in 2017Featured image credit: Reed SaxonAP Images

After her term as first lady, Mrs. Clinton continued her career in politics, serving two terms in the U.S. Senate, a tenure as secretary of state, and a failed run for president in 2016.

Laura Bush

Born Laura Lane Welch in 1946 (she is now 71), the younger Mrs. Bush married George W. Bush in 1977. The couple had two daughters, twins Jenna and Barbara, both born in 1981, making her the first first lady to be the mother of twins.

laura bush was the wife of george w bush
Laura Bush in 2017Featured image credit: Seth WenigAP Images

Like her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, the younger Mrs. Bush championed literacy, an apt job, considering that she had at one time worked as a librarian. She also championed education around the world, as well as women’s causes through her work with The Heart Truth and Susan G. Komen for the Cure organizations.

Michelle Obama

Born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson in Chicago in 1964 (she is now 54), Mrs. Obama married Barack Obama in 1992. They had two children, Malia Ann (born 1998) and Natasha (or “Sasha”) (born 2001). Like Rosalyn Carter and Hillary Clinton before her, she was the mother to a young child (two of them, actually) who lived in the White House.

Michelle Obama in 2017Featured image credit: Charles Rex Arbogast, FileAP Images

Still, the first African-American first lady found plenty of time to devote to her favorite causes, most notably fitness, nutrition, and healthy school lunches. Since her term in office, Mrs. Obama has continued to advocate for healthy children, education for girls worldwide, and diversity in politics.

Melania Trump

Born Melanija Knavs (sometimes written as Melania Knauss) in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) in 1970 (she is now 47), Mrs. Trump married Donald Trump in 2005. The couple have one child, Barron, born in 2006. Though born outside of the United States, Mrs. Trump is not, contrary to popular belief, the first foreign-born first lady. She was preceded in that distinction by Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, who was born in England.

Melania Trump is the wife of donald trump
Melania Trump with her son, BarronFeatured image credit: Carolyn KasterAP Images

Unlike most of her more recent predecessors in the office of first lady, Mrs. Trump has taken on a much smaller role, choosing instead to focus her attention on raising her young son, the first young boy to occupy the White House since John F. Kennedy Jr. five decades ago.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Trump has advocated for reducing cyberbullying of children, and even hosted a roundtable discussion with executives from various social media companies. She’s also become something of a style icon, according to Vogue, rivaling Jackie Kennedy in her fashion sense.