Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 1982:

Bess Truman Dies

Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman, First Lady of the United States, lived to the age of 97, thus living longer than any first lady yet, or any president for that matter. Lady Bird Johnson, who died earlier this year, lived to be 94. Presidents Ford and Reagan lived to be 93. One vice president, however, John Nance Garner, lived a little longer than Bess: he died a little short of 99.

She was a distinct contrast as first lady from her predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt. According to the White House biography of Bess Truman: "In the White House, its lack of privacy was distasteful to her. As her husband put it later, she was 'not especially interested' in the 'formalities and pomp or the artificiality which, as we had learned... inevitably surround the family of the President.' Though she conscientiously fulfilled the social obligations of her position, she did only what was necessary. While the mansion was rebuilt during the second term, the Trumans lived in Blair House and kept social life to a minimum.

"They returned to Independence in 1953. After her husband's death in 1972, Mrs. Truman continued to live in the family home. There she enjoyed visits from Margaret and her husband, Clifton Daniel, and their four sons. She died in 1982 and was buried beside her husband in the courtyard of the Harry S. Truman Library."

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