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Former Nevada first lady Bonnie Bryan dies

Posted at 4:58 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 01:19:39-04

Former first lady Bonnie Bryan died Tuesday at the age of 77.

Bryan was married for 54 years to Richard Bryan, a Democrat who served as governor from 1983 to 1989. He went on to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001.

Statement from the family:

One of Nevada’s most admired citizens and the 26th First Lady of Nevada, Bonnie Fairchild Bryan, passed away in Las Vegas today surrounded by her husband and family following a valiant battle with leukemia.  

Bryan family spokesman Greg Ferraro said, “I know I speak for many Nevadans who saw Bonnie as a splendid example of a First Lady and a superb role model for so many young people. 

“A family favorite, Bonnie will be profoundly missed by her husband, her three children and their families, and her legion of friends.

“Her tireless work on behalf of our State won’t soon be forgotten.  Married to Senator Bryan for 54 years, Bonnie, with her kindness and authentic warmth, left an indelible mark on the State she loved so much.”

Funeral services are pending.

The Nevada State Democratic Party issued a statement:

“Bonnie Bryan was a woman of valor who built a remarkable life focused on her family, her faith, and the citizens of Nevada. She was a champion for Senator Bryan and the issues he fought for, but she was also a strong and compassionate voice in her own right for our state and our party. Bonnie loved the Women’s Democratic Club, and she cared deeply about building a stronger Democratic Party and valuing the work of our grassroots supporters across the state. She may have been our First Lady, but Bonnie never acted better than anyone else — she was charming, personable and made best friends everywhere she went.

“We extend our love and deepest condolences to Senator Bryan and his family during this difficult time. Bonnie will be greatly missed.”

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval also tweeted his condolences.

He later released a full statement.

“Bonnie Bryan served as NV’s First Lady with elegance, grace and an incredible strength of character. She lived her life with a passion for NV that was only matched by her love for her husband and devotion to her family. I saw Bonnie and Senator Bryan several months ago at the dedication ceremony of his statue on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Bonnie was incredibly proud of Senator Bryan and their entire family on that day, and every day. We are a better state because of this extraordinary woman. Kathleen and I extend our deepest condolences to the Bryan family.”

Mayor Carolyn Goodman:

"We've known Bonnie Bryan for more than 50 years and she has always been the quintessential lady, friend and first lady in all she did and all whom she touched. This is an enormous loss for the community, and she will be missed beyond words can express."

Congresswoman Dina Titus:

“A light went out in the Las Vegas firmament with the loss of Bonnie Bryan. Her effervescent nature, charming wit, and generous heart will long be remembered. She set the gold standard.”