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Queens Residents Remember Onetime Borough Resident Nancy Reagan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Queens residents were remembering onetime borough resident Nancy Reagan Sunday, upon her death at the age of 94.

As WCBS 880's Stephanie Colombini reported, Nancy Reagan passed away Sunday at her home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles of congestive heart failure.

Born Anne Frances Robbins, Mrs. Reagan was born at the Sloane Hospital for Women in Washington Heights and spent the first two years of her life living in Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens.

Jake Morales has lived on the street his whole life, but had no idea Mrs. Reagan was once a resident. He remembered Sunday how the former first lady stood by her husband, President Ronald Reagan, as he battled Alzheimer's disease.

"She took care of her husband, you know, and he was a good president," Morales said. "It's like a sad thing."

PHOTOS: 2016 Notable Deaths | Nancy Reagan Through The Years

Across the borough in Sunnyside, city Comptroller Scott Stringer took time marching in the St. Pat's for All Parade to share his condolences.

"Today, all of us should be mourning, and she's bringing us all together even though she's not here," Stringer said.

Mrs. Reagan's parents separated soon after she was born and her mother, film and stage actress Edith Luckett, went on the road. Nancy was reared by an aunt until 1929, when her mother married Dr. Loyal Davis, a wealthy Chicago neurosurgeon who gave Nancy his name and a socialite's home. She majored in drama at Smith College and found stage work with the help of her mother's connections.

n 1949, MGM signed 5-foot-4, doe-eyed brunette Nancy Davis to a movie contract. She was cast mostly as a loyal housewife and mother. She had a key role in "The Next Voice You Hear ...," an unusual drama about a family that hears God's voice on the radio. In "Donovan's Brain," she played the wife of a scientist possessed by disembodied gray matter.

She met Ronald Reagan in 1950, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild and she was seeking help with a problem: Her name had been wrongly included on a published list of suspected communist sympathizers. They discussed it over dinner, and she later wrote that she realized on that first blind date "he was everything that I wanted."

They wed two years later, on March 4, 1952. Daughter Patti was born in October of that year and son Ron followed in 1958. Reagan already had a daughter, Maureen, and an adopted son, Michael, from his marriage to actress Jane Wyman.

The Reagans' mutual devotion over 52 years of marriage was legendary. They were forever holding hands. She watched his political speeches with a look of such steady adoration it was dubbed "the gaze." He called her "Mommy," and penned a lifetime of gushing love notes. She saved these letters, published them as a book, and found them a comfort when he could no longer remember her.

(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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