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 Betty Ford

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Betty Ford

  • Original Name Elizabeth Ann Bloomer
  • Birth 8 Apr 1918 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 8 Jul 2011 Rancho Mirage, Riverside County, California, USA
  • Burial Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, USA
  • Memorial ID 7748438

Presidential First Lady. She was the wife of 38th United States President Gerald R. Ford, serving in the role of First Lady from August 8, 1974 to January 20, 1977. From the age of two, she lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she attended grammar and high school. In addition to a traditional education, she studied tap dance, ballet and modern movement. Dance became her passion and early on in life she intended to pursue it as her profession. At age 14 she began modeling clothes and teaching dance to children. After graduating from high school, she attended the Bennington School of Dance in Bennington, Vermont for two summers. When she was accepted by dancer Martha Graham as a student, she moved to New York, New York and worked as a fashion model for the John Robert Powers agency to finance her dance studies. She studied with Martha Graham and briefly performed with the Martha Graham Dance Troup. At her mother's urging, she returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan and obtained a job as assistant to the fashion coordinator of a local department store. She also organized her own dance group and taught dance in Grand Rapids. Married in 1942, she sought a divorced five years later from her first husband. On October 15, 1948 she wed future President Gerald R. Ford, and was married to him for 58 years. They were the parents of four children. Following a mastectomy in 1974, she became active in raising breast cancer awareness. She was an outspoken advocate of women's rights and supported the proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In the matter of abortion, she was also unapologetically pro-choice and gained fame as one of the most candid first ladies in history. In 1978, the Ford family staged an intervention and forced her to confront her alcoholism and an addiction to prescription pain medication. After her recovery, in 1982 she and Ambassador Leonard Firestone founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. She was the author of "Times of My Life" (1978), "Betty: A Glad Awakening" (1987), and "Healing and Hope: Six Women From the Betty Ford Center Share Their Powerful Journey of Addiction and Recovery" (2003). In 1991, Betty Ford and her husband were co-awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedomm and in 1998 she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Bio by: Priscilla


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 9 Aug 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7748438
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Betty Ford (8 Apr 1918–8 Jul 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7748438, citing Gerald R Ford Museum, Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .