Columba Bush

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Garnica and the second or maternal family name is Gallo.
Columba Bush
Bush on January 6, 2005
Born Columba Garnica Gallo
(1953-08-17) August 17, 1953 (age 61)
León, Guanajuato, Mexico
Occupation Former First Lady of Florida
Predecessor Anne Selph
Successor Carole Rome
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]
Spouse(s) Jeb Bush (m. 1974)
Children George P. Bush, Noelle Bush, Jeb Bush, Jr.
Parents José María Garnica Rodríguez and Josefina Gallo Esquivel

George H. W. Bush (father-in-law)

George W. Bush (brother-in-law)

Columba Bush (born August 17, 1953) is a Mexican-born American philanthropist. She is the wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Early life[edit]

Columba Bush was born as Columba Garnica Gallo in León, Guanajuato, Mexico to José María Garnica Rodríguez, a migrant worker and waiter, and Josefina Gallo Esquivel. Her parents were divorced when Columba was 13 years old and she remained in León with her mother while her father immigrated to the United States. She attended Instituto Antonia Mayllen, a private Catholic school in the historic center of León.[2]

Personal life[edit]

She met Jeb Bush in 1971 in León, where he was teaching English as part of a foreign exchange program. They were married on February 23, 1974, in Austin, Texas.[3][4]

The couple have three children: George P. Bush, Noelle Bush and John Ellis Bush, Jr.

Their elder son, George Prescott Bush (born April 24, 1976, in Texas), went to Gulliver Preparatory School, studied at Rice University, and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Noelle Lucila Bush (born July 26, 1977, in Texas) graduated from Tallahassee Community College in 2000 and enrolled in Florida State University in 2001.

John Ellis Bush, Jr., Bush's younger son (born December 13, 1983, in Miami), works for a Miami, Florida commercial real estate firm. In October 2007, the younger son endorsed Rudy Giuliani for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination and supported the effort as chairman of "Florida Young Professionals for Rudy".[5]

Bush's relationship with her mother was the subject of a brief profile in the book Mamá: Latina Daughters Celebrate Their Mothers by María Pérez-Brown (ISBN 0-06-008386-7). Her parents divorced in 1963.


Columba Bush has been active in promoting the arts. In 1999, she worked with Arts for a Complete Education/Florida Alliance for Arts Education (ACE/FAAE) to develop Arts for Life!, a program devoted to increasing the importance of art in the education system.

Bush has been active in programs to warn young people of the dangers of drug abuse.[6] She has worked on treatment and prevention programs such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She has served as co-chair of the NIAAA initiative, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, and has served on the board of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

An active Roman Catholic, she is a member of Regnum Christi.[citation needed] In 2007, together with her husband Jeb, she attended the Regnum Christi Family Convention in Atlanta.[7]

She appeared in a Spanish language campaign commercial for her father-in-law, George H. W. Bush, in 1988,[8] but generally tends to be uninvolved in politics.[9]

Legal issues[edit]

In June 1999, she was "briefly detained" at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport. On her way home from a shopping trip in Paris, she had declared only $500 worth of merchandise on her US Customs form, but agents found receipts indicating that she was "toting about $19,000 worth of clothing and jewelry". She was allowed to continue to Tallahassee after using a personal check to pay a $4,100 fine.[10] At the time, a spokesman for the Bush family explained that she did not "answer truthfully at first because she did not want her husband to know how much she had spent".[11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Jeb Bush, Catholic Convert. Will His Brother Convert?". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Fagge, Nick (2015-01-22). "An illegal immigrant, warring parents and a bitter rift with the father she did not see for 40 years – the extraordinary story of Columba Bush as her husband bids to make her the first Hispanic first lady". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  3. ^ Gedda, George (2001-02-14). "Bush has hemisphere on brain". Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  4. ^ "Jeb Bush's Latin 'Lover:' R-Rated - Bloomberg". Political Capital. 
  5. ^ "Giuliani Picks Up (Jeb) Bush (Jr.) Endorsement", Wall Street Journal Washington Wire, October 18, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2007.
  6. ^ "Columba Bush Warns Of Perils Posed By Drugs". Sun Sentinel. 
  7. ^ "Jeb and Columba to speak at Catholic youth encounter". Miami Herald Blog. 6 July 2007. 
  8. ^ "Father-in-Law", Bush campaign ad
  9. ^ "The Patience of Jeb (". 
  10. ^ Cox, David; Kennedy, John (June 22, 1999). "Bush Embarrassed By Wife's Run-in With Customs". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Becker, Jo (June 22, 1999). "Bush: Wife meant to hide shopping spree from me". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Anne Selph MacKay
First Lady of Florida
1999 – 2007
Succeeded by
Carole Rome