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Former First Lady Nancy Reagan dies at age 94

5/13/1987 Nancy Reagan speaking at a "Just Say No" Rally in Los Angeles California

5/13/1987 Nancy Reagan speaking at a “Just Say No” Rally in Los Angeles California (Photo The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum)

LOS ANGELES – The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is reporting the death of Former First Lady Nancy Reagan who passed this morning at home in Los Angeles.

Released from the First Lady’s office by the Reagan Presidential Library, the statement read:

Nancy Davis Reagan, the former First Lady of the United States died this morning at her home in Los Angeles a the age of 94. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.

“Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004,” Joanne Drake, Spokesperson wrote.

Nancy Davis Reagan devoted her life after her husband’s death in 2004 to The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Located in Simi Valley, California the former First Lady served on the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, where she was said to have promoted her husband’s legacy of leadership and freedom.

A native New Yorker, Nancy Davis Reagan was raised in Chicago  where she attended and graduated from the Girls’ Latin School. Reagan went on to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 1943.

According to her biography, Nancy Davis, like her husband made her early career on stage, and appeared in film and television productions.

“In 1949, she signed a seven-year contract with MGM. During this time, she met Ronald Reagan and they were married on March 4, 1952,” the bio released by the Reagan Presidential Library said.

Nancy Davis Reagan made eleven films in all, including three after her marriage. Her last film, at Columbia in 1956, was Hellcats of the Navy, the only film in which she and her husband appeared together.

Her role as First Lady began in 1967 when her husband was elected as governor of the State of California. Throughout her husbands two terms in office as governor, the First Lady concentrated on veteran’s issues, including those for prisoners of war (POW) and veteran’s missing in action (MIA).

The beloved, high-profile first lady who reigned at the White House throughout the 1980’s during her husband’s two terms in office, was credited with establishing the “Just Say No” campaign as part of the President’s War on Drugs initiative.

The program, popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s targeted youth and teens, encouraging them to turn away from drug use. Building in popularity over the years, the campaign boasted more than 12,000 Just Say No clubs both nationally and internationally by 1988. 

The Nancy Reagan Foundation was established in 1989 to continue her campaign to educate people about the serious dangers of substance abuse, after leaving the White House. In 1994, the Nancy Reagan Foundation joined forces with the BEST Foundation For A Drug-Free Tomorrow and developed the Nancy Reagan Afterschool Program, a drug prevention and life-skills program for youth.

For ten years, Mrs. Reagan’s priority was caring for her husband at home as he battled Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sunday’s statement went on to say that the public will have the opportunity to pay their respects to the former First Lady prior to her funeral service. 

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