Austin Feature


Lady Bird Johnson: A Natural Beauty

Nobody didn't love Lady Bird. Born Claudia Alta Taylor in the East Texas town of Karnack, the first lady was 94 when she died at home in Austin in 2007. The nickname that everyone knew came as a toddler when a maid called her "pretty as a lady bird."

Within months of graduating from UT in 1934, she had met and married the boisterous Lyndon Johnson. It was a whirlwind courtship, but there was nothing tornadic about the quintessentially graceful Lady Bird Johnson. She seemed determined to offset LBJ's legendary crudity and relentless ambition with subtlety and good humor.

Some count her the nation's premier environmentalist, and she was the first presidential wife honored by a Congressional Gold Medal for her work. Lady Bird also was active for six decades in operating the family's broadcasting outlets in Austin.

—Larry Neal

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