Two notable deaths this week that should be at least mentioned in passing. First, Reagan aide and friend Lyn Nofziger has died:
Lyn Nofziger, a longtime adviser and strategist to U.S. President Ronald Reagan, has died at his Falls Church, Va., home at the age of 81.
Nofziger began his time at Reagan’s side to the 1966 California gubernatorial campaign. After serving as press secretary in Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, Nofziger stayed on in the White House as assistant for political affairs until Jan. 22, 1982.***
He reportedly irked first lady Nancy Reagan with his appearance, which often featured shirts that appeared to be too small, and Mickey Mouse ties with the knot pulled down, the newspaper said.
A little closer to home, Sen. Byrd’s wife of 69 years (that is not a typo) has died after an extended illness:
Erma Ora James Byrd, the wife of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), died Saturday after struggling with a long illness. The couple had been married for 69 years.
Erma was a coal miner’s daughter who met her future husband at Mark Twain Grade School in Raleigh County. They were married in a simple ceremony when they were 19.
The Byrds came from humble beginnings. Their first refrigerator was half of an orange crate nailed to the side of their home.
Although I am not sure how an orange crate refrigerates anything (how did that pass by the Hill editors?), my condolences to both families. Erma Byrd, btw, was one of the political spouses from a bygone era- she was completely out of the limelight, and I know nothing about her other than that she was Robert Byrd’s wife. I don’t know if that is an artifact of the changing roles of women in society or the changing role of spouses in general in politics (I don’t remember Dennis Thatcher getting much media attention, either). Most likely, a little bit of both.