Claudia Alta Taylor was born on Dec. 22, 1912, and her nursemaid quickly declared her as “pretty as a ladybird” — giving her a nickname for life. Born in Karnack, the future Mrs. Johnson would become “an author, a businesswoman, a champion of education and conservation efforts,” according to her American-Statesman obituary.
That obituary, written by Janet Wilson, begins:
Her marriage to a larger-than-life Texan thrust a shy, small-town girl named Lady Bird Johnson into the national spotlight. A love affair with the great outdoors kept her there.
And though nationally, she was best known as the wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president, Mrs. Johnson was very much a figure in her own right. She mixed Southern graciousness with a quiet, cast-iron fortitude that not only won admirers but allowed her to steer a large business enterprise and help forge a national environmental movement.
Here’s a look back in photos at a little of her remarkable life:
This 1934 photos shows newlyweds Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson at the Floating Gardens in Xochimilco, Mexico. Mrs. Johnson was a graduate of the University of Texas and had studied art and journalism, thinking she would be become a reporter. Photo from the LBJ Library
Lady Bird Johnson holds a movie camera during her husband’s U.S. Senate campaign in Central Texas on June 19, 1941. Photo from the LBJ Library.
U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson, D-Texas, poses with his wife, Lady Bird, and waves farewell before flying to their home in Texas from Washington’s airport in this Aug. 25, 1955 file photo. Associated Press photo.
President Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office as the 36th President of the United States in Washington DC as Lady Bird Johnson holds the Bible and Chief Justice Earl Warren administers the oath. Photo from the LBJ Library.
Lady Bird Johnson at Big Bend National Park on April 2, 1966. Photo by Robert Knudsen/ LBJ Library.
Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and dog Yuki sit near the Pedernales River at the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall in September 1967. LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
Lady Bird Johnson and President Lyndon B. Johnson are shown during the signing ceremony for the Interior Department Appropriation Bill at the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, July 26, 1968. Associated Press photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
Lady Bird Johnson in a 1987 photo from the LBJ Library. Photo by Frank Wolfe.
Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson sits in a field of wild flowers in the Texas Hill Country on May 10, 1990. Photo by Frank Wolfe.
Lady Bird Johnson, accompanied by her daughters, Lynda Johnson Robb, left, and Luci Baines Johnson, right, and her Secret Service detail, is wheeled to a reception following a memorial service for retired U.S. Rep. J.J. “Jake” Pickle in this Wednesday, June 22, 2005 file photo, in Austin, Texas. American-Statesman photo by Ralph Barrera.
Lady Bird Johnson died on July 11, 2007. Among the many dignitaries to attend her memorial service were, left to right, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, former President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Laura Bush, former President Bill Clinton, and Sen. Hillary Clinton.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is among the ways Mrs. Johnson is remembered today in Austin.
Also honoring Lady Bird Johnson is the former Town Lake, which was renamed Lady Bird Lake shortly after her death in 2007. American-Statesman photo by Ralph Barrera.