Nancy Reagan, 1921-2016

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has passed away at the age of 94.

Nancy Reagan, the stylish and influential wife of the 40th president of the United States who unabashedly put Ronald Reagan at the center of her life but who became a political figure in her own right, has died. She was 94.

Mrs. Reagan died of congestive heart failure on Sunday morning at her home in Los Angeles, according to a statement from Joanne Drake, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Reagan.

Her death was confirmed by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.

Mrs. Reagan was a fierce guardian of her husband’s image, sometimes at the expense of her own, and during Mr. Reagan’s improbable climb from a Hollywood acting career to the governorship of California and ultimately the White House, she was a trusted adviser.

I’ll never forget the sight of Reagan visiting her husband’s gravesite on the 10th anniversary of his death in June 2014. The grief on her face was unbearable to watch: it was clear how deeply she missed her late husband. Nancy Reagan deserves credit for standing up to the religious fundamentalists in the GOP and supporting embryonic stem-cell research in the 2000s, in the hope that such research could one day find a cure for the Alzheimer’s disease that ultimately took the 40th president’s life.

We at the Washington Monthly extend our thoughts and prayers to the Reagan family, which will miss Nancy every bit as much as she missed Ronald.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.