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  Ford, Betty
<-  2001-01-01  
NameBetty Ford
Rancho Mirage, California , United States
Born April 08, 1918
DiedJuly 08, 2011 (93 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedChronicler
Apr 08, 2021 11:13am
Tags Divorced - Married - Widowed - Cancer - Episcopalian - Straight -
InfoElizabeth Anne Bloomer Warren "Betty" Ford

Born in Chicago, Illinois. Duaghter of William Stephenson Bloomer and Hortense Nehr. Married Gerald Ford on October 15, 1948.

In 25 years of political life, Betty Bloomer Ford did not expect to become First Lady. As wife of Representative Gerald R. Ford, she looked forward to his retirement and more time together. In late 1973 his selection as Vice President was a surprise to her. She was just becoming accustomed to their new roles when he became President upon Mr. Nixon's resignation in August 1974.

Born Elizabeth Anne Bloomer in Chicago, she grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and graduated from high school there. She studied modern dance at Bennington College in Vermont, decided to make it a career, and became a member of Martha Graham's noted concert group in New York City, supporting herself as a fashion model for the John Robert Powers firm.

Close ties with her family and her home town took her back to Grand Rapids, where she became fashion coordinator for a department store. She also organized her own dance group and taught dance to handicapped children.

Her first marriage, at age 24, ended in divorce five years later on the grounds of incompatibility. Not long afterward she began dating Jerry Ford, football hero, graduate of the University of Michigan and Yale Law School, and soon a candidate for Congress. They were married during the 1948 campaign; he won his election; and the Fords lived in the Washington area for nearly three decades thereafter.

Their four children--Michael, Jack, Steven, and Susan--were born in the next ten years. As her husband's political career became more demanding, Betty Ford found herself shouldering many of the family responsibilities. She supervised the home, did the cooking, undertook volunteer work, and took part in the activities of "House wives" and "Senate wives" for Congressional and Republican clubs. In addition, she was an effective campaigner for her husband.

Betty Ford faced her new life as First Lady with dignity and serenity. She accepted it as a challenge. "I like challenges very much," she said. She had the self-confidence to express herself with humor and forthrightness whether speaking to friends or to the public. Forced to undergo radical surgery for breast cancer in 1974, she reassured many troubled women by discussing her ordeal openly. She explained that "maybe if I as First Lady could talk about it candidly and without embarrassment, many other people would be able to as well." As soon as possible, she resumed her duties as hostess at the Executive Mansion and her role as a public-spirited citizen. She did not hesitate to state her views on controversial issues such as the Equal Rights Amendment, which she strongly supported.

From their home in California, she was equally frank about her successful battle against dependency on drugs and alcohol. She helped establish the Betty Ford Center for treatment of this problem at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.

She has described the role of First Lady as "much more than a 24-hour job than anyone would guess" and says of her predecessors: "Now that I realize what they've had to put up with, I have new respect and admiration for every one of them."


Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Jul 08, 2011 07:00pm Obituary Former first lady Betty Ford dies at the age of 93  Article COSDem 
Apr 07, 2007 01:00pm News Betty Ford gets birthday greetings from Nancy Reagan  Article The Sunset Provision 
Apr 05, 2007 10:00pm News Betty Ford hospitalized in California  Article The Sunset Provision 

Importance? 8.00000 Average

Husband Gerald R. Ford Oct 15, 1948-Dec 26, 2006
Son Michael Gerald Ford 1950-
Son John Gardner "Jack" Ford 1952-
Son Steven Meigs Ford 1956-
Daughter Susan Ford Vance Bales 1957-

Congressional Gold Medal Recipient Betty Ford  Discuss
Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient First Lady Betty Ford  Discuss
  11/02/1976 US First Lady Lost 44.61% (-10.59%)
  08/09/1974 US First Lady - Resignation Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  10/12/1973 Second Spouse - Appointment Won 100.00% (+100.00%)