Nancy Reagan holding the Reagans’ pet Rex, a King Charles spaniel, as she and Ronald Reagan walk on the White House South Lawn in 1986.
[Complete broadcast. Service actually begins about one hour into this video]
[4 hours 23 minutes]
MARCH 11, 2016
Nancy Reagan Funeral Service A funeral service for former first lady Nancy Reagan was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. She died Sunday, March 6, 2016, at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 94.
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Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney read an adoring letter Ronald Reagan wrote Nancy on their first Christmas in the White House in 1981.
Reagan wrote her about “several much beloved women in his life,” including my “First Lady.”
“She brings so much grace and charm to whatever she does that even stuffy, formal functions sparkle and turn into fun times. Everything is done with class. All I have to do is wash up and show up,” the former president wrote.
“Fortunately, all these women in my life are you – fortunately for me that is, for there could be no life for me without you,” he wrote, lovingly.He then described “the girl” who went to the ranch with him, a “sentimental lady” whose laughter is like “tinkling bells” and a “gal who is a nest builder.”
TV host Melissa Rivers recalled the many conversations her mother, Joan Rivers, had with Nancy.
“One of the last great grand dames,” Rivers said, the Washington Post reported. “She was an elegant, wonderful woman.”
The service, which reflected her sense of elegance from a bygone era, featured a photo of her dressed in one of her signature red gowns.
The pair had two children, Patti Davis and Ron, both of whom smiled at reminiscences during the funeral.
Davis told mourners her folks were “two halves of a circle,” recalling a distant memory of seeing them sitting on a Southern California beach at sunset in what she called an impenetrable “island for two.”
Political dignitaries, celebrities say goodbye to Nancy Reagan
By Yaron Steinbuch
New York Post
March 11, 2016 | 4:08pm | Updated
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Peggy Noonan remembers Nancy Reagan
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Political, business and Hollywood potentates, a thousand in all, came to pay their respects. Her eulogists spoke of her signature elegance, political influence and withering contempt for those who dared cross her. Most of all, they spoke of the Reagans’ marriage as both an abiding love affair and a partnership in power, with Mrs. Reagan serving as her husband’s chief protector and a leading architect of his legacy.
“My life began when I met my husband,” Nancy Davis Reagan once said, and several mourners noted that the same may have been said of him.
The Reagans were “defined by their love for each other,” said former secretary of state James A. Baker III, speaking in a tent erected on the south lawn of the Reagan Presidential Library high on a hill facing the Topatopa Mountains. “Without her, he wouldn’t have been president.”
Their son agreed. “There likely wouldn’t have been a President Ronald Reagan without a Nancy Reagan,” said Ronald Prescott Reagan of his mother, who died Sunday at 94 of congestive heart failure.
While her husband was alive, Mrs. Reagan kept watch over every aspect of his life. Willing to play the heavy and often acknowledged by her husband and his key aides as a the sharper assessor of loyalty and character, she became a polarizing figure in national politics.
“Her determination was ferocious,” said their daughter Patti Davis, remembering a conversation they had when her mother was personally lobbying members of Congress to approve stem-cell research into Alzheimer’s disease, against the Republican Party position. “Even God might not have the guts to argue with Nancy Reagan.”
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Much of the guest list harkened back to the ’80s, the Reagan decade, including Wayne Newton, Anjelica Huston, Tina Sinatra, Bo Derek (“we shared horse stories”) and Ralph Lauren. Mr. T — a stalwart ally in Mrs. Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign (she famously sat on his lap at a Christmas event) arrived through a side entrance dressed in full camouflage attire, combat boots and an American flag wrapped around his head.
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Mrs. Reagan’s funeral brought together under one immense tent notable Democrats and Republicans at a deeply divisive time — from Newt Gingrich and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Television producer Norman Lear, a major funder of liberal causes, recalled that “she had a civility and appreciation for other people’s points of view.” Also, that Mrs. Reagan “danced well.”
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The service reflected her sense of unapologetically old-world elegance but also revealed the more playful side of Mrs. Reagan, a woman known for her steely reserve. She enjoyed the company of dashing men — like Selleck, Warren Beatty, her husband — and a delight for gossip. “She told wicked stories of old Hollywood,” Diane Sawyer observed.
Nancy Reagan funeral draws political heavyweights, stars from bygone era
Karen Heller and William Wan March 11, 2016 at 5:21 PM