Lady Bird Johnson Remembered

by Mitzi Loera

NewsWest 9

Flags fly at half staff in remembrance of Lady Bird Johnson.

Newswest Nine learned memories of the former First Lady are evident all across the state of Texas including right here in the Basin.

Born Claudia Alta Taylor she soon became known as Lady Bird an affectionate nickname given to her as a toddler.

But it was at an early age she learned a hard life lesson.

"Her mother died when she was five and her aunt came from Alabama and raised Lady Bird."

Administrator of the Presidential Museum and Library Lettie England shares her knowledge of the former first lady with us.

After finishing high school she attended the University of Texas majoring in Journalism.

It was shortly there after she met Lyndon Baines Johnson for the first time.

"I think the story goes he proposed the very next day in any case she married President Johnson and became involved in his political career."

It was during her husband's presidency that Lady Bird launched one her most successful moves. Something she is most remembered for.

"Her legacy of highway beautification, the environment was very important to her she brought attention to the fact we had junk cars just sitting around everywhere and billboards along the highway that distracted from the natural beauty of this great country," England said.

One could say she was an early pioneer in environmental issues with her love of flowers.

"Through the planting of wildflowers seeds along the highways and so I don't think any of us in this whole state or in this whole country can drive along a highway and not be reminded of that in the spring especially on Hwy 71 going into Austin," England said.

The Johnsons have some ties to the basin making a stop here in 1965, leaving a special piece of history in Odessa.

"This is a photograph of the Johnson family, and so this is a treasure from the collection signed by all the family so we are very proud to share this." England

Lady Bird Johnson will lie in repose at the LBJ library in Austin Friday through Saturday. She will then be laid to rest after a private ceremony Sunday in the Texas hill country.