LAS VEGAS >> The late Sen. Harry Reid was buried Thursday at a desert cemetery in his hometown of Searchlight, Nev., following a week of ceremonies in Las Vegas and at the U.S. Capitol that honored his decades shaping state and national policies.
Family members wanted the graveside service to be private, said Brian Ahern, a former Reid press aide and speechwriter who is now a spokesperson for MGM Resorts International and a representative for Reid’s family. Ahern confirmed only that the burial took place.
Reid died Dec. 28 at home in Henderson, Nev., at 82 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Landra Reid, their five children, and grandchildren who knew him as “Poppy.”
President Joe Biden, who called the former Democratic party leader a “one of the greatest Senate majority leaders in history,” attended a memorial that drew more than 2,000 invited guests last Saturday at a concert hall in Las Vegas. Biden also visited Reid’s flag-draped coffin as Reid lay in state Wednesday at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington.
Reid served longer in Congress than anyone from Nevada. He was Senate majority leader during the terms of two presidents: Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama. He retired in 2016.
Remembered by many for abrupt ends to telephone conversations, Reid was a combative former boxer-turned-lawyer who became widely acknowledged as one of toughest dealmakers in Congress.
He was credited with securing a national economic recovery bill during the Great Recession and with muscling Obama’s landmark health care law through the Senate.
In Nevada, he was elected at age 28 to the state Assembly and at age 30 became lieutenant governor as Gov. Mike O’Callaghan’s running mate in 1970.
In 1980, as head of the Nevada Gaming Commission investigating organized crime, Reid was the target of a car bomb that failed to detonate.
In Searchlight, once a gold mining boom town now with fewer than 500 residents about an hour drive south of Las Vegas, Reid’s father was a hard rock miner who killed himself at age 58. Reid’s mother washed laundry for a bordello.
Today, Harry Reid’s name is on the town elementary school and a road that leads to the graveyard where his parents, other family members and now Reid himself are buried.