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Hundreds Pay Respects At Private Funeral For Former First Lady Nancy Reagan

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nancy Reagan was set to be buried next to her husband Friday night, after hundreds of people gathered for her funeral services at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in hill country northwest of Los Angeles.

Relatives, dignitaries and friends attended the private funeral at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

Reagan library officials said Nancy Reagan personally created the guest list for the funeral and had a hand in other details, including choosing the flowers, CBS News' Chris Martinez reported.

PHOTOS: Funeral For Nancy Reagan

Guests included former President George W. Bush, First Lady Michelle Obama and with every other living former first lady -- Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. Other guests include former Reagan administration official Ed Meese, Katie Couric, Larry King, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, television writer and producer Norman Lear and Steve Ford, son of President Gerald Ford.

The service took place inside a cavernous white tent, one side left open, facing the hills in the distance. A blanket of gray clouds filled the sky, and a brief sprinkle tapped on the roof.

Reagan Library officials said Nancy Reagan personally created the guest list for the funeral and chose everything from the flowers and program to the pallbearers, as reported by CBS2's Alice Gainer. Her husband's favorite song, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," was also played.

Former Chief of Staff James Baker delivered the main eulogy.

"When they were together, he hid love notes around the house," Baker said.

Baker read one of President Reagan's letters to Nancy from 1981.

"Fortunately for me, that is, for there could be no life for me without you," he wrote.

It was his letter to her on their first Christmas in the White House.

Newsman Tom Brokaw and Nancy Reagan's two children -- Patti Davis and Ron Reagan – also spoke at the ceremony.

"Her absolute belief in him, gave him that chutzpah," Ron said.

"When my father was shot, my mother rushed to the hospital, they at first wouldn't let her see him. 'I have to,' she said. 'You don't understand how it is with us,'" Patti recalled.

The ceremony comes after two days of public viewing at the library.

Nancy Reagan died of congestive heart failure on March 6 at age 94.

Meanwhile, while Michelle Obama attended the service, President Barack Obama did not – and took heat from some conservatives for opting instead to speak at a tech festival in Austin, Texas.

But Obama was hardly the first president to miss a former first lady's funeral.

President Jimmy Carter did not attend Mamie Eisenhower's funeral in 1979 but his wife, Rosalynn Carter, did. President Ronald Reagan did not attend Bess Truman's funeral in 1982 but Nancy Reagan went.

President Bill and Hillary Clinton did not attend Pat Nixon's funeral in 1993 and President George W. Bush did not attend Lady Bird Johnson's funeral in 2007. His wife, Laura, and his mother, Barbara Bush, attended. When Betty Ford died in 2011, Obama did not attend but his wife did.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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