Former US First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson dies at 94
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Bess Truman, who reached the age of 97, was the only other first lady to live past 90. Lady Bird Johnson became first lady after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After her husband's presidency, she became known as an advocate of various environmental projects and environmentalism in general.
As President Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, criss-crossed States by road during the 1964 presidential campaign, she informed her husband of her feelings about the roadside junkyards they saw along the way. Inspired by her comments and enthusiasm from audiences, he observed "If it's beautifying they want, it's beautifying they'll get." Recognizing that "ours is an automobile society," the President did not want to curtail roads. He wanted to make roads the "highways to the enjoyment of nature and beauty." Lady Bird thought that her love of seeing Texas highways in spring had influenced her husband. She enjoyed the results of Texan wildflower conservation programs which began in the 1930s.
One of the most prominent results of the President's beauty initiative was the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. It created restrictions on billboards and junkyards. As expected, it had been controversial. When the House considered its version of the bill on October 7, the debate lasted into the early morning hours of October 8. A pointed, but tongue-in-cheek amendment by Representative Robert Dole (R-Kan.) to strike out the term "Secretary of Commerce" wherever it appeared in the bill and insert the words "Lady Bird" lost by a voice vote. Saying, "Beauty belongs to all the people," the President signed the bill and gave the pen to Lady Bird, along with a kiss on the cheek.
In 1982, she founded the National Wildflower Research Center to continue the mission of changing public attitudes toward native plants. In 1997 it was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
- "Lady Bird Johnson dead at 94" — , July 11, 2007
- "Lady Bird Johnson Dies" — , July 11, 2007
- AP. "Lady Bird Johnson passes away" — , July 11, 2007
- "Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson" — , June 22, 2007
- "Texas in Bloom" — , June 2, 2007
- Richard F. Weingroff. "Lady Bird Johnson's I-95 Landscape-Landmark Tour" — , June 29, 2006
- "How the Highway Beautification Act Became a Law" — , January 18, 2005
- Alfredo Flores. "Lady Bird Johnson Receives First Arboretum Gold Medal Award" — , October 3, 2002