Former Barbara Bush aide looks back at former first lady’s life

As the nation prepares to bid farewell to a former first lady, for one Chicago woman, the goodbye is particularly close to home.

Peggy Swift White worked for Barbara Bush as her personal aide from 1989-1993 while George H.W. Bush was the 41st president.

Next to family, her role with Mrs. Bush just doesn’t get any closer.

White was fresh out of college when she accepted the job of personal aide to the first lady. For the next four years, she was Mrs. Bush’s right hand.

As the president and his wife travelled the world meeting with the most important leaders of our time, White was right there with them behind the scenes.

“I am a member of an exclusive club. I am No. 5 in a line of, I think 17, of personal aides that started with her back in 1980 as the VP’s wife,” she said.

They last saw one another at a reunion at Walker’s Point over Labor Day last year. The Bush home in Kennebunkport, Maine a gracious gathering place for friends, family and staff, always-present and former.

White treasures the hand written letters she has from Mrs. Bush from over the years.

“I look around our house I look around and there are little pieces of her sort of everywhere. Whether it’s books, or trinkets or scarves, or purses or old pearls-sort a little part of her physically everywhere,” she said.
White said in the end, serving the first lady was like working alongside a treasured friend—one she respected and learned from every day.

Staying in touch all these years, an incredible bonus after leaving the role as Mrs. Bush’s personal aide in 1993. Saying a sweet goodbye this weekend with friends and family in Texas is a true gift.

“Working for Barbara Bush has been a badge of honor I’m looking forward to going to Houston and celebrating her life,” White said.