After leaving Washington, Mrs. Bush continued to volunteer her time to worthy causes and help others. Her Foundation for Family Literacy, from which she stepped aside in 2012, has raised and awarded over $110 million to create or expand family literacy programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. She also served as Americares ambassador-at-large; a Mayo Clinic Foundation board member; and a supporter of organizations including the Leukemia Society of America, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Of course, Barbara Bush shares the rare distinction with Abigail Adams of being both a wife to, and mother of, a president. She addressed both the 2000 and the 2004 Republican National Conventions that nominated George W. and actively campaigned for him during both national campaigns. In 2016, at the age of 90, she also campaigned for her son and former Florida Governor, Jeb, as he vied for the Republican presidential nomination.

Another unique political moment came in November 1998, when George W. was re-elected Governor of Texas and Jeb was elected to the first of his two terms as Governor of Florida.

Several schools have been named for Mrs. Bush, including middle schools in San Antonio and Irving, Texas, and elementary schools in Houston, the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie and Mesa, Arizona. Also bearing her name is the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Mrs. Bush chronicled her life’s story in two autobiographies: Barbara Bush: A Memoir (1994), which covered her life through her husband’s term in office; and Reflections (2004), which focused on life after the White House and her first son’s ascension to the presidency.

“George Bush and I have been the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust has settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends,” Barbara Bush wrote in 1993. “We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that.”