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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 22:20 GMT 23:20 UK
US farewell to former first lady
Mourners pay respects to the former first lady's casket at the Lyndon B. Johnson library and museum
Thousands have paid their respects to Lady Bird Johnson
Former US presidents and first ladies have attended a private funeral in Austin, Texas, of the wife of former US President Lyndon B Johnson.

Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson, widely known as Lady Bird Johnson, died on Wednesday of natural causes aged 94.

First Lady Laura Bush and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were among some 1,800 people attending Lady Bird Johnson's funeral.

She will be buried on Sunday next to her husband at the LBJ Ranch.

She's once again united with her man for rides together through the ranch in the sky
Tom Johnson, family friend

Ceremonies began on Friday at the wildflower centre Lady Bird Johnson founded in 1982 to preserve native flora.

From the wildflower centre, the casket was moved to the Lyndon B Johnson library and museum at the University of Texas.

There it was placed in the exact spot where her husband's casket lay after his death in 1973.

The building remained open overnight as more than 11,500 members of the public filed past to pay their respects.

"She's once again united with her man for rides together through the ranch in the sky," Tom Johnson, a family friend and chairman of the LBJ Foundation, said at the funeral on Saturday.

Seeking beauty

Her daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, said her mother had lived her "94 delicious years" to the fullest.

"As long as she drew breath, she was wanting to discover and make an impact on beauty," she said.

Lady Bird Johnson (file image from 1979)
A lot of it was desperately painful, but on balance I loved it
Lady Bird Johnson on her White House years

Lady Bird Johnson was a staunch supporter of her husband's ambitious policies of civil rights and on tackling poverty.

A popular first lady, she was also one of the most influential, quietly advising her husband as he came under fire for escalating the Vietnam War, the BBC's James Westhead in Washington says.

But she was perhaps best-known as a tireless environmental campaigner, correspondents say.

She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to beautify Washington, and the 1965 Highway Beautification Bill was known as the "Lady Bird bill".

On her years in the White House, she once recalled: "A lot of it was desperately painful, but on balance I loved it."


SEE ALSO
US former First Lady Johnson dies
12 Jul 07 |  Americas

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