Rest in peace, Nancy Reagan

Tampico IL Reagan Mural
Reagan mural in Tampico, Illinois

By John Ruberry

Nancy Reagan died this morning at her home in Los Angeles. The former First Lady, who had been ailing in recent years, was 94.

Ronald Reagan in the last year of his presidency said this about his wife:

What do you say about someone who gives your life meaning? What do you say about someone who’s always there with support and understanding, someone who makes sacrifices so that your life will be easier and more successful? Well, what you say is that you love that person and treasure her.

Ronald’s movie career was on its downslide when he met aspiring actress Nancy Davis– who like “Dutch” was a native of northern Illinois–in his role as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild.

What if they had met earlier? “If Nancy Davis had met Ronald Reagan earlier in his movie career, he would have gotten an Oscar — she would have insisted on it,” says Myra Gutin, a First Lady historian.

While First Lady Nancy spearheaded the “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse, brought much-needed attention to the AIDS epidemic, and brought style and grace back to the White House.

President Reagan, despite his long career and a politician, was an intensely private man. But the Gipper opened up to Nancy.

After his narrow defeat in the 1976 battle for the Republican nomination with President Gerald Ford, Reagan wanted to quit politics. But it was Nancy who spurred him on. And it was Mrs. Reagan who insisted to her beloved “Ronnie” that he fire John Sears, the manager of his 1980 presidential campaign, and White House chief-of-staff Don Regan, both of whom were operating beyond the boundaries of their jobs.

Without a doubt were it not for Nancy there would not have been a President Ronald Reagan.

Rest in peace.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.