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Austin woman shares memories of her longtime friendship with Barbara Bush

FILE - In a Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, file photo, former first lady Barbara Bush listens to a patient's question during a visit to the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. A family spokesman said Sunday, April 15, 2018, that the former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Former first lady Barbara Bush says her health is failing and has chosen "comfort care" at her home. The 92-year-old has been battling chronic COPD and congestive heart failure.

Well wishes from the Bush's family and friends are now pouring in from around the country.

A former staff member and friend of the George and Barbara Bush, Shirley Green, now lives in Austin. She has known the Bush family since 1964 when George Bush Sr. first ran for Senate.

Green was eventually appointed deputy assistant and press secretary for George Bush.

"What the public sees on TV is what the Bushes are like," said Green.

Green said anyone who spent any time with the Bush family felt loved and cared for because of their welcoming nature.

During Bush's years in office and long plane trips to foreign countries, Green said she forged a strong friendship with Barbara Bush.

Her home is filled with memories and signed pictures from both George and Barbara Bush.

"She is the most energetic person," said Green. "She is just a dynamo all the time. Never seems to be tired. I don't think there has ever been another woman like her. "

While quick-witted and funny, Green said Barbara Bush is also one of the most principled people she knows.

"She didn't seek attention at all, but you always knew where Barbara Bush stood on things," said Green.

To this day, Green said Barbara Bush is still passionate about family literacy. Her foundation, the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, has donated more than $40 million to expand literacy programs nationwide. "It wasn't a little idle thing at all to have a cause, I mean she really cares," said Green.

Maybe the only thing more important to Barbara, according to Green, is her family.

"Always, always family has come first," said Green.

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