Politics

Public to get chance to pay respects to former first lady Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
Eric Thayer/Getty Images
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
Flowers were left at the Reagan library in memory of former first lady Nancy Reagan, with a handwritten note that read: "Rest in peace. Finally with Ronnie."
John Ismay/KPCC
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
Flowers and a card were left at the Reagan library for the late former first lady, Nancy Reagan.
John Ismay/KPCC
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
At the Reagan library in Simi Valley, visitors leave flowers in remembrance of the former first lady, Nancy Reagan.
John Ismay/KPCC
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
Visitors were turned away from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library following the death of former first lady Nancy Reagan.
John Ismay/KPCC
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
Flags fly over the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on March 6, 2016. Visitors were turned away after the library closed following the death of former first lady Nancy Reagan.
John Ismay/KPCC
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, poses on the library grounds in Simi Valley.
John Ismay/KPCC
Nancy Reagan attends a celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Feb. 6, 2011, in Simi Valley, California.
President-elect Ronald Reagan celebrates his electoral victory with wife, Nancy, and his daughter Maureen in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 1980.
AFP/Getty Images


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Visitors who stopped by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Sunday found it temporarily closed to guests following the death of former first lady Nancy Davis Reagan.

Still, that did not stop some from leaving flowers at the entrance to the hilltop complex and paying tribute to the strong, influential wife of the country's 40th president.

Nancy Reagan's funeral is set to be held Friday at the Library, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced Monday. Nancy Reagan will also lie in repose for public visitation on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday's funeral starts at 11 a.m. and will be closed to the public. Nancy Reagan will be buried next to her husband at the library. The public can send condolences at this link.

The 94-year-old former actress and sometimes controversial first lady died Sunday of congestive heart failure. She will be buried at the library next to her husband, the man with whom she shared a very public life stretching from Hollywood studio lots to the California governorship, and then to the White House.

Her political influence on her husband and attention to high style grated on some detractors. But criticism of her turned quieter in later years when she became the president's staunchest protector following an assassination attempt on him in 1988 and after they announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Until his death in 2004, Nancy Reagan cared for her husband as his health deteriorated and she devoted time after his passing to campaign for Alzheimer's research and gun control, among several causes.

Nancy Reagan's death drew tributes from public figures across the country, including from the Republican Party's presidential candidates. Their harsh feuding over the GOP nomination and the invoking of President Reagan's name to bolster their candidacies struck one library visitor.

"Reagan would be a Democrat today, for sure," said Rick Glew of McKinney, Texas. "I probably see more of Reagan in Hillary Clinton than anybody else."

Glew became a U.S. citizen five years ago, but said he’s followed American politics for decades from his native Canada.

"I liked Ronald Reagan as the president quite a lot," he said. "I just liked the spirit he brought to the office."

As for Nancy Reagan, Glew was impressed by her loyalty to her husband and her work on behalf of charities. "I thought she was a great first lady."

The Reagans' lives were a love story, said John Heubusch, executive director of the presidential library.

"I had just happened to finish reading the Reagan’s diaries, and I noticed throughout the diaries that every page he was pining away for Nancy," Heubusch said.

"So I told her over lunch, I said, 'I don’t think I read diaries, it felt to me like I was reading a love story.' And she said, ‘You know what? I felt the very same way.’"

Instead of flowers, the former first lady had asked that contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.

Full details on Nancy Reagan's funeral from the Reagan Library are below:

Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. To prepare for her funeral, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, located at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley, California is closed, and will re-open to the public on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

As part of the official events, Mrs. Reagan will lie in repose at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday, March 9th from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and also on Thursday, March 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. No parking will be allowed at the Reagan Library. If you wish to pay your respects to Mrs. Reagan, transportation will be provided for the public at the former Bank of America property located at 450 American Street, Simi Valley, California. Shuttles will run continuously to the Reagan Library throughout those hours. Because security will be heightened at the Library during this time, no large bags or cameras will be permitted and all bags will be inspected. Strollers will not be allowed inside the building. Gifts and flowers will only be accepted at the bottom of Presidential Drive and at the shuttle pick up location.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2016. Funeral services are closed to the public.

This story has been updated.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Hillary Clinton's name. KPCC regrets the error.