Former first lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday night, had strong family ties to Dayton and southwest Ohio.
Her grandfather Scott Pierce was one of the founders of the Dayton Rotary Club. Her parents, Marvin Pierce and Pauline Robinson, met at Miami University in Oxford.
When the family lived in New York years later, Marvin would bring Barbara on trips to Dayton when he worked for McCall Corporation. He went on to be the president of McCall’s, the publisher of Redbook and McCall’s.
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“When I was four or five years old, my father would take me with him on business trips to Dayton, the site of a McCall plant,” Bush wrote in her memoir.
Marvin was a 1916 graduate of Miami University. He was a standout athlete nicknamed Monk. He played basketball, football, baseball and tennis. He was inducted into the Miami Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.
In her memoir, Bush wrote about her father saying, “Daddy was really bright and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while at the same time waiting tables and tending furnaces.”
“Miami is where Daddy fell in love with Mother who was studying to be a teacher.”
Pauline and Marvin were married in 1918 in Union County, Ohio.
Pauline was born in Richwood, Ohio, on April 28, 1896. Her father was Ohio Supreme Court Justice James Edgar Robinson.
Pauline died in a car accident in 1949 in Rye, N.Y. When Marvin who was driving the car lost control. She was 53 years old.
Barbara’s brother, Scott Pierce, also attended Miami University. He is 88 years old.
Barbara Bush’s grandfather, Scott Pierce, was an insurance salesman for a while in Dayton.
In her memoir, Bush said her grandfather and grandmother “lost all their money in the 1890s, and my grandfather never recovered. He sold insurance in Dayton, Ohio, but the family lived humbly.”
Pierce was among a group of 16 men who formed the Dayton Rotary Club in 1913 and he became the its first president, according to David Williamson, the club’s historian.
The story goes that during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, Scott Pierce’s teenage daughter Charlotte — Bush’s aunt — became separated from her family and had to ride out the flood waters in the attic of another Rotary member. It was several days before her family got word that she was safe.
Rotary International members then came to Dayton’s rescue, making the flood recovery the organization's first ever national relief effort.
“(Scott Pierce) was a big deal in Dayton Rotary,” Williamson said. Words he wrote are presented to each outgoing club president on a plaque to this day.
Bush’s grandmother Mabel Pierce was born in Hamilton County in 1869 and died in Dayton in 1955. Scott Pierce died in Dayton in 1945.
Barbara Bush’s great grandparents, Mabel’s parents, Jerome Pierce and Martha Stokes, are buried in Glen Haven Cemetery in Harrison, about 20 miles northwest of Cincinnati.