Houston florists tasked with beautifying Barbara Bush's life celebration

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Houston florists tasked with beautifying Barbara Bush's life celebration (KTRK)

Thousands of people, many of whom have never even met Barbara Bush, are showing an outpouring of support for the former First Lady. From online donations to tangible gifts, local businesses are being inundated with calls and inquiries on how they can pay their respects.

Mark Ruisinger has been pruning, prepping and preparing floral arrangements for decades. He's good what at he's good at, and now, he's one of several florists working with George H. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home, which is caring for Barbara Bush's body.

"The wholesaler, when I went there this morning, it was frantic because they were all buying, florists were calling up to buy flowers for her," Ruisinger said.

Texas' matriarch. A beautiful life - honored by colorful beauties like these.

"What I heard mostly were pastel shades. Pinks, lavenders, and colors like that and a lot of white flowers, which would be lilies, tulips, roses, and hydrangeas. Things like that," Ruinsinger continued.

The funeral home says it has been getting a lot of calls from people wanting more information on how they can show support. The Bush family prefers donations to Barbara's passion: literacy. Her foundation has been flooded with requests to donate. It issued a statement that reads in part:

"Mrs. Bush's passion for ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in life and her belief that achievement begins with learning how to read will continue to drive our work in the Houston community, a place where she and President Bush called home for more than half-century."

The Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the library downtown is paying tribute to that mission.

"She was so instrumental in the literacy program. What other place to have that symbolically honors her?"

Ruisinger will be busy the next few days, but says it's an honor to give Bush the sendoff she deserves.

"She's been a very big part of our lives here in Houston, because of her generosity and her openness and her very casual, down-to-earth demeanor."
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