Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson

What's wrong with this picture?

This is Lady Bird Johnson, right, in the black dress with the white buttons, seen here at a ceremony January 25, 1973, when her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, was laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

She is surrounded here by her family; standing behind her is Lucy Baines Johnson, Nugent. Next to her, on the left, is Linda Bird Johnson, wife of Charles Robb, later elected U.S. Senator from Virginia, with their daughter.

President Richard Nixon, is seen on the right, with his daughter Tricia Cox behind him. To the far left is Vice President Spiro T. Agnew with his wife Judy.

She was born Claudia Alta Taylor on Dec. 22, 1912 in Karnack, Texas, a small east Texas town some 10 miles from the Louisiana state line. She died Wednesday at the age of 94.

Taylor studied journalism at Marshall High School where she graduated third in her class. She let her grades slip to avoid being first in her class and having to give the valedictorian’s speech.

After graduating Cum Laude at the University of Texas in Austin, she earned a second degree in journalism.

She married a young congressional aid, Lyndon Johnson and became, what many thought his greatest supporter, as he went on to become a U.S. congressman, senator, vice-president and upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, he became president.

She purchased a failing Austin radio station, KTBC, in 1942 and built it into a six-station multi media empire.

She is probably best known for her environmental efforts that culminated in 1965 with what was named the Lady Bird Johnson Highway Beautification Act. It removed many billboards along interstate highways and replaced them with wildflowers.

Her daughters, seven grand children and 10 great grand children survive her.

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