Ronald Reagan grew up in Illinois. His father was a shoe salesman. He taught himself to read by looking at the words as his mother read to him. She also encouraged her boys to participate in the theater and public readings. He followed her advice and later became known as "The Great Communicator". After finishing high school he graduated from Eureka College. Upon graduation he worked as a radio sportscaster, then hosted some TV shows. General Electric hired him to give talks to its employees. He married Nancy Davis with whom he had a daughter and a son. They would be married for more than 50 years. During World War 2 he served as a captain in the Army Air Corps making training films for pilots. In 1967 he was elected governor of California. . In 1976 he tried to win the Republican nomination for President of the United States, but Gerald Ford was the nominee that year. Reagan was elected governor of California for a second term, then in 1980 he tried again for the Presidency and was elected winning over Jimmy Carter. Under his leadership the economy stablized. During his first term as President he appointed Sandra Day O'Conner as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. He proved to be so popular he won reelection in 1984. . There was an attempt on his life in 1981 when John Hinkley shot him in the chest. He nearly died, but fully recovered from the attack. For many years the United States and Russia had been engaged in what people termed a "Cold War". The Berlin Wall had been erected by the East German army after being advised to do so by the Russian leaders, thus dividing East and West Germany in 1961. Then on June 12, 1987 Ronald Reagan said to to the Russian leader, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Within two years people were traveling freely between the two sectors. He had communicated. Once when asked about his legacy; how he wanted to be remembered, he said he wanted people to say, "He tried to expand the frontiers of human freedom in a world at peace with itself." In his later years after he left the White House, Ronald Reagan developed Alzheimer's disease. He lived for ten more years, passing away in 2004.