Our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets credit,” (“A Quote by Ronald Reagan”). He showed true pride in his country when he was enlisted, later became governor of California, and after that lead the United States for eight years. He was not only a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and a friend; he was also a leader.
Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 to his loving mother and father, Nelle Clyde, who was Scottish and English, and Edward “Jack” Reagan, who was Irish. He grew up with one older brother, Neil Reagan. Throughout Ronald’s childhood his father was a salesman and storyteller. His father also called him Dutch throughout his life, due to his small dutch-boy appearance.
He was born in a small town in Illinois called Tampic. Throughout his childhood he ended up moving multiple times in Illinois. In 1919 the family returned to Tampico. Shortly after his family settled back in Tampico they packed up again and moved to Dixon, Illinois in 1920.
He attended Dixon High School where he participated in many sports, including football and swim, and was elected the student-body president. Reagan also found his love for acting at Dixon High School while participating in many drama productions. In 1927 he got his first job as a lifeguard at a local pool for the summer before his senior year. He then graduated with his class in 1928.
After high school he moved onto college and attended Eureka College in central Illinois. He had a sports scholarship to continue playing football. In college he joined a fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon. He was also a member of the cheerleading team, captain of the swim team, a member of the football team and student council president. While in college he studied economics and sociology. In 1932 he graduated with his major in sociology and economics.
After college he moved to Iowa and got a job as a radio announcer. He later moved and became a Chicago Cubs game announcer in Des Moines. While working in Southern California for the Cubs baseball team, he did a screen test with Warner Brother Studios and there he signed a seven year contract. His debut movie was, Love is in the Air where he played a radio news reporter. Within three decades, Reagan was in over fifty movies.
Reagan enlisted in the army on May 25, 1937 and on April 18, 1942 he was reported to duty for the very first time. Because of his bad eyesight, he was restricted from serving overseas. His first assignment was at Fort Mason, California, where he worked as a liaison officer where he worked in the Port and Transportation Office. Later in his military career he returned to Fort MacArthur, California where he left his active duty on December 9, 1945.
In 1940 he married Jane Wyman whom he met while filming Brother Rat. Wyman was born with the name Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917. Jane was an actress, a singer, a dancer and many more things. The two got engaged in Chicago and were married on January 26, 1940 in California. The couple had two children and adopted one. Their first born was Maureen Reagan, born on January 4, 1941 and their second born was Christine Reagan who was born in 1947, but died at birth. They adopted Michael shortly after his birth in 1945. Wyman filed for a divorce in 1948, and it was finalized in 1949.Maureen was raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated in 1958 from Marymount Secondary School in Tarrytown in New York. After graduating she attended Marymount University. She had a short lived acting career as a child, but did not continue in the rest of her life. In her life she married three times and had one daughter in her last marriage. She passed away on August 8, 2001.
Michael was born on March 18, 1945 with the name John Flaugher out of wedlock to Irene Flaugher, an unmarried lady from Kentucky. She became pregnant from a U.S. Army corporal. Through his childhood he was expelled from Loyola High School and then went to Judson High School, a boarding school in Arizona, where he graduated in 1964. HE never graduated from college. In his lifetime he was a salesman, actor, radio show host and an author. In 1971 he married the daughter of Duane Putman, Gail Putman and the two divorced in 1972. He then married Colleen Sterns in 1975 and the two of them had two children, Cameron and Ashley.
Soon after his divorce Reagan met Nancy Davis (“Ronald Reagan”). Nancy’s birth name was Anne Francis Robin. She was born on July 6, 1921 in Manhattan. She was born to a farmer turned salesman named Kenneth Robbins and an actress, Edith Luckett. Her parents separated after her birth but the divorce was not finalized till 1928. After the split she lived with her aunt and awaited her mothers return to New York, and when her mother did return for an acting job, her aunt would take her to see. After graduating from college she pursued her career in acting and volunteered to help raise money for the fight against polio. During her days of acting in Hollywood she dated a number of actors. But on November 15, 1949 she met her future husband, Ronald Reagan.
Reagan helped her with the issue of having her name on the Communist Blacklist in Hollywood since she shared her name with another actress. They got engaged at Chasen’s Restaurant in Los Angeles. They were married on March 4, 1952 at Little Brown Church in The Valley with a small wedding party. Nancy later said, “I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but it was pretty close.”
Reagan and Davis had two children to add to the family. Their first born was Patricia Reagan, born only seven and a half months after the wedding on October 21, 1952. Then their second was born on May 20, 1958 and his name is Ronald “Ron” Reagan.
Patricia became better known as Patti Davis and pursued a life in acting and writing. In college, at Orme School of Arizona, she studied creative writing and drama. Patti acted in multiple television shows before getting her first publishing offer. She published her first book, Home Front, in 1986. To this day she run a program at UCLA called “Beyond Alzheimer’s.”
Ronald, also known as Ron, is a former radio host for KIRO radio and Air American Radio. He is known for his political beliefs that are opposite of what his father’s political beliefs were. He lived in Seattle, Washington with his wife Doria Palmieri who was a psychologist up to when she died in 2014 to a neuromuscular disease. After his wife’s death he admitted to being an atheist.
From 1967 to 1975, Reagan was the governor of The Golden State, California. The republicans of California were astonished by his political views, especially after his famous speech, “Time for Choosing.” In his campaign while running for governor he had two main ideas, the first being that those who aren’t working should get back to work and the second being that they needed to, “clean up the mess at Berkeley.” Reagan was sworn in a governor of California on January 2, 1967. During his term as governor he paused government hiring and raised taxes to help with the budget. After two terms, Reagan did not continue running as governor of California. For he had a bigger plan.
In 1976, Reagan put up a challenge with the current president Gerald Ford to become the United States Republican party nominee for the next election. Reagan’s campaign was run by his campaign manager John Sears. With Smith’s help he was able to win North Carolina, California and Texas, Unfortunately he lost to Ford in New Hampshire, Florida and his home state, Illinois. But his win in Texas gave him a lot of hope since he got all the delegates votes. As the final convention for the Republican party came, it seemed as if Ford had it, and he did. Winning with only 117 more votes, Ford ran against Democrat Jimmy Carter and lost.
In the 1980 election, Reagan ran against current president Jimmy Carter. Reagan won by a landslide due to concerns about Carter’s view on the Iran Hostage Crisis. Reagan’s main ideas were to lower taxes, have government stay out of people’s lives, allow states rights, and provide a strong national defense system. He remained president all the way from 1981-1989.
Shortly after his presidency began Reagan, James Brady, Thomas Delhanty, and Tim McCarthy were shot at by the assassin John Hinckley Jr. They were right outside Washington Hilton hotel when the shot was fired. It is said that Reagan was close to death whilst arriving to George Washington University Hospital. The president, while in the emergency room, was stabilized and later had an emergency exploratory surgery. After recovering, Reagan was released from the hospital on April 11. Ronald Reagan became the first president in history to survive an assassination.
On August 23, 1992 Reagan was assaulted by a protestor. He was giving an acceptance speech in Las Vegas, Nevada. 41-year-old Richard Paul Springer smashed a two foot high crystal statue that weighed nearly thirty pounds. Pieces of the statue hit Reagan, but luckily he went uninjured. Springer was planning to announce plans that the government had been making to test nuclear weapons underground. Shortly after he was arrested and pleaded guilty saying his intentions were not to hurt Reagan.
In August of 1994 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a disease that destroys brain cells, causing death. He informed the nation four months later in November, where he wrote a letter about everything. The disease slowly destroyed his mental capacity. In the end he was only able to recognize very few people, one being his wife, Nancy.
He died on the afternoon of June 5, 2004 in Los Angeles, California from pneumonia which was complicated by his alzheimer’s. Later that day at Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica people laid flowers and flags in the grass to show their respects. On June 7, there was a small funeral held for close family and friends then two days later on the ninth he was taken to Washington D.C. where 104,184 people gathered to mourn the loss of their American leader. On the 11th the funeral was held, and later that day another service was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California this is also where President Reagan was buried.
Ronald W. Reagan left an impact on many Americans and even more. He showed that it is truly possible that you can do what you love. He was always a leader through high school, college and later in life when he became president of the United States. He went from a small town in Illinois, to acting in California for the Warner Brothers all the way to the Oval Office in Washington D.C. He accomplished very much, and made many proud.
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