NEW YORK (AP) Gay-rights and HIV/AIDS activists remain bitter at Ronald Reagan for a slow response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that the USA and the Reagan family "have lost a woman of grace and strength", adding that "America is stronger and better for their service".
As Nancy Davis, she was a Hollywood actress during the 1940s and 1950s and married Reagan, a prominent film actor, in 1952. She then served as first lady of California during her husband's stint as California governor from 1967 to 1975 before moving into the White House after his decisive victory over incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
However, in 1994 she played a key role in her husband's widely praised disclosure that he had Alzheimer's and became a vocal campaigner for awareness of the disease.
March 7 If Ronald Reagan had wanted to be a shoe salesman, it was said, Nancy Reagan would have made sure he was the best shoe salesman in the world. She raised millions for Alzheimer's research and fought to institute more stem-cell studies. "It reflects rather harshly on both of them". But she knew well how to work within them.
Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats says in a statement that Reagan lived an "extraordinary life" because of her love for her country and support for her husband.
She was, herself the subject of some criticism, including for consulting a psychic at the White House.
After the Reagans left the White House in 1989, "tell-all" books by Regan and especially an unauthorized biography by Kitty Kelley, cast Nancy Reagan in an unflattering light, even alleging an affair with Frank Sinatra. "A total class act".
"Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here", they wrote". But by her own account, her most important role was that of Ronald Reagan's wife and fierce protector, reports CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante, who covered the Reagan administration. In the first place it is a known fact that a human cannot sustain the high level of happiness I feel for more than a few minutes - and my happiness keeps increasing.
It wasn't long after the 1984 Republican convention in Dallas when Spaeth said her phone rang. Nancy Reagan will always be remembered as someone who got the ball rolling and started the national conversation on drug abuse.
"For conservatives, she has been a powerful living link to her husband's legacy as one of the greatest modern presidents", he said.
"Very nice, polite. She was not extremely outgoing". Yes, I knew children of divorced parents.
US flags nationwide also were lowered to half-staff in honor of Reagan, who died Sunday. "She missed him terribly", Ron recalled.
One of her duties included sorting through Mrs. Reagan's mail, receiving more than a hundred letters a day. We can't share the wonderful memories of our 52 years together, and I think that's probably the hardest part. Reagan's lavish spending habits and social friends became political baggage.