|Lady Bird Johnson became First Lady at one of the most difficult moments in U.S. history: the day of President Kennedy's assassination. Although she would never become a national icon like Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson left her own special legacy. A warm smile and a beguiling Texas drawl won her friends of every political persuasion. As First Lady, she became known for her efforts to beautify and preserve America, covering more than 200,000 miles in the pursuit of her environmental goals. Also active in the President's War on Poverty, Mrs. Johnson traveled from the bleakest sections of the inner cities to the harshest rural areas.
Difficult times were not new for Lady Bird Johnson. She lost her mother as a child of five and was raised largely by an aunt and family retainers. Her marriage to Lyndon Johnson produced four babies lost to miscarriage before two daughters, Lynda and Luci, were eventually born. While her husband served in World War II, she took on the responsibility of keeping his Congressional office open in his absence. Actually, it was through Lady Bird's efforts that her husband had won that seat at all, since she had financed the campaign with funds borrowed against her inheritance.
In 1942, she again utilized her inheritance to purchase a Texas radio station, KTBC in Austin. Under her guidance, the formerly debt-ridden station made millions as part of a communications empire that later grew to include a television station. While Lyndon busied himself with politics, Lady Bird provided financial security for her family.