The legacy of Nancy Reagan, whose death at 94 was announced Sunday, is being remembered as a big and complex force that lasted long beyond her – or her husband’s – eight years in the White House.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served as a national security adviser under Ronald Reagan, recalled how he began working with the administration in the tumultuous aftermath of the Iran-contra scandal.

In Powell’s telling, it was a task Nancy Reagan accomplished deftly and with grace.

As first lady, Nancy Reagan supported numerous other causes, serving as honorary chairwoman of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., the National Republican Women’s Club and the National Child Watch Campaign, to name a few.

Shortly after she and her husband left the White House, Nancy Reagan – along with her husband – supported the Brady Bill, the landmark gun control measure named after the president’s former press secretary who was shot and permanently disabled during an assassination attempt on the president in 1981.

Among the most promising developments, Nancy Reagan discovered, was stem cell research.

As Nancy Reagan wrote to President George W. Bush in April 2001, “Ronnie” – who was then 90 – was struggling in a world “Unknown to me or the scientists who devote their lives to Alzheimer’s research.”

Nancy Reagan’s advocacy earned her admirers who could hardly be described as soldiers of the Reagan Revolution.

Nancy Reagan