AUSTIN, Texas – Borne by a military honor guard and trailed by her two daughters and their husbands, Lady Bird Johnson on Friday was taken inside the presidential library named for her husband to lie in repose as people prepared to file in and pay respects to a woman one mourner described as “the true yellow rose of Texas.”
“She was such an inspiration to me growing up,” said Joyce Gordon, among the first in line 30 minutes before the public was allowed to see Johnson lying in repose at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library on the University of Texas at Austin campus. “I always thought that she was the most gracious of all the first ladies.”
The body of Johnson, who died Wednesday at 94, was carried to the library in a natural wood casket that was covered with the former first lady’s beloved wildflowers.
Daughters Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Robb marched a few steps behind, holding the hands of their husbands, Ian Turpin, of Austin, and former Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia.
For Rick Scott, vacationing in Texas from his home in El Dorado, Kan., it was an opportunity to witness history and reconnect with his youth.
“Growing up in the ‘60s, the Kennedys and Johnsons were big parts of our lives,” said Scott, 53.
“It seemed like a fitting place to be.”
Lady Bird Johnson’s body was to lie in repose all day at the LBJ Library.
Earlier in the day, there was a private service at the wildflower center in South Austin that bears her name.
Today, dignitaries including former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and their wives were among those expected at the formal service at an Austin Church.
Lady Bird Johnson, who died at 94, will be buried Sunday alongside her husband at the couple’s ranch.