Jeb Bush Wife Columba Bush (nee Garnica Gallo; American Spanish: [ko’lumba gar’nika ‘gajo]; born August 17, 1953) is a Mexican-American philanthropist and the wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Wife). From 1999 until 2007, she served as First Lady of Florida.
Columba Bush Early Life
Columba Garnica Gallo was born in Arperos, Guanajuato, Mexico to Jose Maria Garnica Rodriguez (1925-2013), a migrant worker and waiter from Arperos and Josefina Gallo Esquivel (born 1920) of Leon. Her parents Jose Maria Garnica Rodriguez (1925-2013), an immigrant worker and waiter from Arperos and Josefina Gallo Esquivel(born 1920), both from Leon, were married February 1949 and 1949 respectively; Jose Maria emigrated to America when Columba was three years old, while her parents divorced in 1963, leaving Columba with her mother remaining behind in Leon with them both having moved on after his departure.
Garnica attended Instituto Antonia Mayllen, a private Catholic school located in Leon’s historic center.
Jeb Bush (Wife) first encountered her at 16 years old in 1970 in Leon, where he was 17. Bush was teaching English as a second language and helping build a school in nearby Ibarrilla while taking part in an Andover class called Man and Society.
On February 23, 1974, Garnica and Bush were wed in Austin’s Catholic student center chapel, as she still could not speak English fluently. As part of the ceremony, portions were conducted in Spanish for cultural diversity.
In 1988, she appeared in a Spanish-language campaign commercial for her father-in-law George H.W. Bush during his presidential campaign, and presented a nominating speech for him at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, though generally remaining out of politics.
As First Lady of Florida, Bush championed causes such as Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, and Arts for Life – a nonprofit group providing scholarships to young artists.
Columba Bush has long been an advocate for the arts. In 1999, she joined Arts for a Complete Education/Florida Alliance for Arts Education to launch Arts for Life!, an initiative dedicated to increasing art’s importance within educational systems.
As First Lady, she organized multiple art exhibits featuring Salvador Dali, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as well as Florida artists.
Bush has been an advocate for youth drug prevention programs, working with organizations like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She served as co-chair of their Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free initiative and sits on the board of Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
As First Lady, she visited shelters, studied reports on addiction in adolescents, organized exhibitions and linked donors with charities.
In 2003, while First Lady of Florida, Bush joined a delegation to Rome to commemorate John Paul II’s 25th anniversary as Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Bush has used her platform to become an advocate for causes such as domestic violence, substance abuse and the arts, working alongside organizations that promote substance abuse treatment and prevention.
Throughout her husband’s 2016 presidential election campaign, Bush visited women’s shelters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Columba has always been known for her quiet demeanor, and before marrying Jeb Bush she had intended on leading a quiet life.
Bush and her husband reside in Coral Gables, Florida. Columba Bush’s relationship with her mother was the subject of Maria Perez-Brown’s book Mama: Latina Daughters Celebrate Their Mothers. Her sister Lucila del Carmen Schmitz (born October 1951) lives close by her in Miami along with her parents.
The couple has three children: George Prescott Bush (born April 24, 1976 in Texas), Noelle Lucila Bush (born July 26, 1977 also in Texas) and John Ellis “Jeb” Bush Jr. (born December 13th, 1983 in Miami).
Their oldest son, George, attended Gulliver Preparatory School and Rice University before earning a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He is an attorney, U.S. Navy Reserve officer, real estate investor and politician who served as Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
Columba Bush has three children, plus four grandchildren: two by George P. and one each from Jeb Jr.
Columba Bush has two older brothers: Francisco Jose Garnica (born December 1949) who currently resides in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Lucila del Carmen Garnica Gallo (born 1951).
As a practicing Roman Catholic, she is an active member of Regnum Christi. In 2007, along with her husband Jeb, she attended the Regnum Christi Family Convention in Atlanta with him.