Peabody Hotel, St. Jude remembers Barbara Bush's Memphis visits

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - People across the country are remembering the life and legacy of Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at the age of 92.

The General Manager of the Peabody Hotel remembers his encounter with the former first lady during a visit in 2005.

"We meet a lot of people who think a lot of themselves and she was not that person at all," Douglas Browne said.

Browne remembers meeting the former first lady vividly.

"She was just an incredibly kind person but at the same time you could tell that she was a strong woman," he said.

Browne and his staff have entertained dozens of politicians and well known entertainers over the years. He remembers Mrs. Bush's down to earth personality coupled with quiet and clam strength.

"She reminded me a lot of my mother in the sense that she could be very kind but you know that if she needed to take charge she could," Browne said.

Mrs. Bush was the main speaker for a luncheon benefiting the West Cancer Center in October 2005.

She became a champion of cancer research after her second child died of leukemia at the age of three.

The former first lady was also a big supporter of literacy education.

Knox Shelton, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, spoke on Mrs. Bush's commitment to increasing literacy levels.

"The Barbara Bush Foundation shed light and brought national attention on the literacy crisis faced by many communities across America.  The work of the foundation allowed organization like ours to enact substantive change in our communities.   Like the Barbara Bush foundation, Literacy Mid-South is dedicated to improving Memphians through literacy education."

Prior to visiting in 2005, Mrs. Bush was in Memphis in 1991 for the dedication of the Danny Thomas Research Tower on the St. Jude campus. She was heavily involved in promoting cancer research after losing her 3-year-old daughter to the illness.

Mrs. Bush will be laid to rest Saturday in Houston. 

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