Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, a Flushing native, dies at 94

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, a Flushing native, died Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 94.

Long before she called the White House home from 1981 to 1989, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who died of heart failure on Sunday at the age of 94, was a Flushing resident during her earliest years.

The wife of President Ronald Reagan was born in Manhattan on July 6, 1921, but spent the first two years of her life living in a two-story home at 417 Amity St. in Flushing.

One year later, the eventual First Lady's road was renamed Roosevelt Avenue after former President Theodore Roosevelt. Her childhood home, which was built in 1901, still stands on the block between 149th Place and 150th Street, one block from the Murray Hill Long Island Rail Road station.

Reagan moved to Maryland when she was three years old, with the First Lady living a majority of her life in Southern California with fellow actor-turned-politician Ronald Reagan, who she met in 1949 and married in 1952.

During her eight years as First Lady, she was a fierce protector of her husband, especially after President Reagan was shot during a 1981 assassination attempt.

In 1982, she launched the Just Say No campaign, aimed at educating teenagers about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, which saw her travel across the nation to visit drug rehabilitation centers and other service providers.

Reagan, a breast cancer survivor, continued the campaign after her husband left office, eventually becoming involved in causes related to Alzheimer's after Ronald Reagan's diagnosis and eventual death in 2004.

The busy nature of her eight-year tenure in the White House revolutionized the role of the First Lady, with Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama all naming Reagan as a key influence in their activism.

According to a spokesperson for the former First Lady, Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., next to her husband.

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