East Texans in Tyler, Nacogdoches, Lufkin remember Barbara Bush

Former Angelina Co. Republican Party Chairman Bob Flournoy has known the Bush's since before 1970. He describes Barbara Bush as a "matriarch for the country." (Source: KTRE Staff)
Former Angelina Co. Republican Party Chairman Bob Flournoy has known the Bush's since before 1970. He describes Barbara Bush as a "matriarch for the country." (Source: KTRE Staff)
Gaylord Hughey of Tyler is a longtime financial backer of all the Bush campaigns. His walls are lined with photographs from each Bush era, including pictures of Barbara Bush. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Gaylord Hughey of Tyler is a longtime financial backer of all the Bush campaigns. His walls are lined with photographs from each Bush era, including pictures of Barbara Bush. (Source: KTRE Staff)

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Former First Lady Barbara Bush is remembered with fondness and gratitude worldwide after her passing yesterday at age 92.

East Texans whose paths intersected with Mrs. Bush say they have a lasting impression of a woman noted for her frankness and elegance. They said that they are glad to have met Barbara Bush.

Pattye Greer, a former Stephen F. Austin State University regent, wore pearls, jewelry synonymous with Barbara Bush.

"I thought she was such a great person and enjoy wearing her pearls," Greer said.

Greer has stronger ties to both Bush presidents, but a lifetime memory is when she was a volunteer at the National Republican Convention in Houston.

"George Herbert Walker [Bush] was running for president and I met her there," Greer said. And she was so nice to all of us and especially the ones doing the volunteer work."

Like Mrs. Bush, Greer was nominated to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.

"She was already in it, and I was just wanting to be with her name," Greer said. "She was just such a strong personality it couldn't help but influence all of us."

Former Angelina County Republican Party Chair Bob Flournoy noticed Mrs. Bush's allegiance prior to 1970.

"If you saw George, usually, Barbara was somewhere close by," Flournoy said.

Flournoy and his wife saw the couple through two hard defeats for U.S. senator. A note of thanks remains a keepsake.

"Gosh, I hate to think your concern and your energy alone couldn't result in victory," Flournoy said. "I hear people talking about her being the matriarch of the family. She was really the matriarch for the country."

"There's Barbara Bush and President Herbert Walker Bush," said Gaylord Hughey, a Bush supporter.

In Tyler, photographs line the walls belonging to Hughey, a longtime financial backer of all the bush campaigns. He admired the woman behind the men.

"She's very genuine, witty. She was the enforcer of the family," Hughey said. "She had the grandchildren's attention based on my interaction with them. They all loved her."

Family values, grit, and frankness were the qualities of Barbara Bush.

Barbara Bush was praised by both Republicans and Democrats for her love of family and the nation.

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