The Austin Chronicle

Saying Goodbye to Lady Bird

July 20, 2007, News

Family friend and spokesman Neal Spelce escorts Luci Baines Johnson down the stairs of the LBJ Library, where her mother, Lady Bird Johnson, lay in state last week. A private memorial service Saturday was attended by a full slate of dignitaries, including first lady Laura Bush, former first ladies Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter, and Texas U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Visitors wait in a long line for a chance to pay their respects to Lady Bird Johnson at the LBJ Library. The public vigil drew an estimated 12,000 visitors to the library on the UT campus. The former first lady's casket lay in state in the library's grand Great Hall, the same spot where her husband's casket stood. Mrs. Johnson was buried Sunday in Stonewall in a burial plot next to Lyndon Johnson's resting place.

Mourners pause before the casket of Lady Bird Johnson as part of a weekendlong farewell salute to the former first lady, who died July 11 at her home in Austin. One of Mrs. Johnson's most revered achievements in Austin is the creation of the well-traveled Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail. The nature lover and beautification advocate had declined previous offers to have the popular outdoor spot carry her name, but the City Council could vote to rename the lake in her honor as soon as next week.

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