Presidential First Lady. Born Claudia Alta Taylor to T.J. and Minnie Taylor. A maid noticed that she was as cute as a "Lady Bird," and the nickname stuck. In 1918 when she was six years old, her mother died. Their aunt Effie Pattillo raised Lady Bird and her two older brothers, for the most part. In 1933, she graduated from The University of Texas, earning a BA in Liberal Arts, followed by a Bachelors in Journalism the next year. In 1934, she married Lyndon Baines Johnson, who gave her the ultimatum; marry him now, or not at all, this was the morning after their first date. Lady Bird would accept and they were married November 17, 1934. After ten years of trying, and several miscarriages, Lady Bird gave birth to a daughter Lynda in 1944. A sister Luci followed in 1947. Lady Bird was the quintessential political wife. She campaigned tirelessly for her husband. At one time, she was on the campaign trail and was involved in a car accident. Though, a serious accident, she managed to get a clean dress, and arrive to give her speech on schedule. She had 23 years experience as a politician's wife when Lyndon Johnson was elected vice-president in 1960. Lady Bird devoted her self to the environment, and devoted herself to beautification. On November 22, 1963, her world changed when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. Lyndon Johnson became president, and Lady Bird First Lady. Lady Bird continued tirelessly for beautification, and was instrumental in promoting a national Highway Beautification Act. Personally, Lady Bird never asked for much, she once told White House Chief Usher J.B. West, give "Lyndon comes first, then the girls, and I will take what is left." In 1969, The Johnson's left the Whitehouse and retired to Texas. During their retirement, she published her Whitehouse Diary. Their time together was short lived. Lyndon Johnson died on January 22, 1973 of a heart attack; Lady Bird was not home at the time. Lady Bird continued his work for the environment. In 1982, she co-founded National Wildflower Research Center. A new building for the center opened in 1996. Two years later the center was re-named The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center. Mrs. Johnson was awarded the highest civilian honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1993, she suffered a stroke. In 1994 against doctor's orders, Lady Bird flew to New York against doctor's orders. She went to attend the funeral for Jacqueline Kennedy. Jackie was her friend and would not have missed her funeral for anything, she told reporters. By the late 1990s, she was legally blind due to macular degeneration. In 2002 she suffered a stroke which left her with speech problems. Wheelchair bound, she still made appearances at her husband's Library in Austin. When she died at age 94, Lady Bird Johnson became the second-longest living First Lady; Bess Truman lived to age 97.
Bio by: The Perplexed Historian
Lyndon Baines Johnson
1908–1973 (m. 1934)
Claudia Taylor Johnson
December 22, 1912
July 11, 2007
A gentle heroine for nature and mankind