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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 8:40 am | Fair 44º


Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, a Frequent Santa Barbara County Visitor, Dies at 94

Nancy Reagan, 1921-2016
Nancy Reagan, 1921-2016

Former first lady Nancy Reagan, a frequent visitor to Santa Barbara County, died Sunday at her Los Angeles home, according to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library.

She was 94, and the cause of death was reported to be heart failure.

The widow of President Ronald Reagan, she served as first lady from 1981 until 1989, and was known as an influential and fierce protector of her husband.

Born Nancy Davis in New York City on July 6, 1921, Nancy Reagan worked as a Hollywood actress in the 1940s and ’50s.

She met Ronald Reagan, a fellow actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild, in 1948, and became his second wife in 1952.

The couple had two children, Patti and Ron.

During the Reagan presidency, the couple made frequent trips to their Western White House at Rancho del Cielo, a 688-acre spread near the top of Refugio Canyon along the Gaviota coast.

The Reagans hosted numerous world leaders and dignitaries at the ranch, including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1983 and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, in 1992.

Santa Barbara would be abuzz whenever the Reagans were in residence at the ranch, with swarms of national and international media in town, centered at the former Sheraton Hotel on East Cabrillo Boulevard.

The Reagans would not be seen much around town, but would make an occasional Sunday morning foray to a local church to attend services.

Nancy Reagan was an active and formidable first lady, perhaps best remembered for her “Just Say No” anti-drug crusade.

The 40th president died in 2004, and Nancy Reagan lived in the posh Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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