On Sunday, Jenna Bush Hager marked Mother’s Day by honoring her late grandmother and namesake, Jenna Welch. Jenna’s grandmother passed away on the morning of May 10 at the age of 99 in Midland, Texas.
“Waking up thinking of my precious namesake, Jenna Welch who passed away Friday,” Jenna began in her caption accompanying a slideshow of precious family photos. “How lucky I was to be named after a woman who taught me how to slow down and appreciate every bird, and every plant in West Texas.”
“Her kindness and graciousness were as expansive as the West Texas horizon,” she added. “So happy she’s reunited with her great love, our Pa after almost 25-years apart. Thinking of my mama too who lost her little mama right before Mother’s Day."
Welch was the mother of former first lady Laura Bush, the only child Welch and her late husband, Harold, had. Her husband died at age 82 in 1995 after battling cancer and dementia.
Bush shared a photo of her own, remembering her late mother in a sentimental post.
“This Mother’s Day, I’m remembering my mother, who passed away at the age of 99 on Friday morning,” Bush wrote alongside a photo of her mother. “My memories of reading with her and stargazing under the Midland sky are reminders of the passions that she nurtured in me. Our family is grateful for her long and wonderful life. We miss her dearly.”
In addition to Jenna’s name, her grandmother also passed down her love of reading and academics to her daughter and later to Jenna herself.
“Well, I certainly learned to love to read from my mother who loved to read, and I know you all learned to love to read from me,” Bush told her daughter in a special Mother’s Day feature in 2015 for TODAY.
Welch was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 at the age of 78, serving as an inspiration for Laura Bush in her advocacy for the fight against breast cancer, including the founding of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University in 2007.
In 2010, the Jenna Welch Women’s Center also opened up in Midland, providing medical care for women under the umbrella of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.