Remembering Barbara Bush
1925 – 2018
It is with profound sadness that the Americares family mourns the passing of former First Lady and Americares Ambassador-at-Large Barbara Bush.
Mrs. Bush and President George H.W. Bush were instrumental in the founding of Americares. The former first lady and her husband, a childhood friend and classmate of Americares founder Bob Macauley, were among our earliest supporters. They traveled on aid airlifts and co-chaired numerous fundraisers over the years, including the nonprofit’s 25th anniversary celebration in New York City with Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Americares Co-founder and Permanent Vice Chairman Leila Macauley fondly recalls Mrs. Bush’s dedication to Americares in the early years, traveling on aid missions to Ethiopia, Croatia and Guatemala.
“No one was a better ambassador for Americares than Barbara Bush,” Leila Macauley said. “It wasn’t glamorous work, but she was a trooper and believed in our mission. She helped us build one of the country’s largest humanitarian organizations in only a few short years. We owe her a debt of gratitude.”
From 1984 to 1993, Mrs. Bush served as the honorary chairwoman of Americares Doctors to All Peoples program, which sent volunteer physicians on overseas medical missions. Mrs. Bush became Americares first—and only—ambassador-at-large in 1993.
“We have watched the progress of Americares ….and we marvel at this humanitarian organization’s ability to mitigate the suffering and save the lives of so many people,” Mrs. Bush said when she took on the role of ambassador-at-large. “I am honored to play a part.”
In October 2017, Americares honored President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush with the inaugural Bob and Leila Macauley Humanitarian Spirit Award for their extraordinary courage and lifelong commitment to humanitarian work. Their nephew, Jonathan Bush Jr., accepted the award on their behalf at the 30th Americares Airlift Benefit.
“Americares was privileged to have Mrs. Bush’s unwavering support for four decades,” said Americares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis. “She was a dear friend and our champion, inspiring countless others to help people in crisis all over the world. She will be greatly missed.”