Betty Ford, 1918-2011

by MSO

Betty Ford, former First Lady, died at the age of 93 years.

Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977, passed away July 8, 2011. She was preceded by her husband former United States President Gerald Ford who died in 2006.

Betty Ford was born on April 8, 1918 in Chicago and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She had a passion for dance and moved to New York City where she studied dance and worked as a model. Her mother convinced her to move back home where she married William Warren whom she had known most of her life. They divorced after five years and Betty started dating Gerald Ford who was a college football star, veteran of the US Navy and a lawyer. The couple were married for 58 years and had four children.

Betty Ford was an outspoken, courageous woman whose views got her in plenty of trouble with the press and even her husband’s own advisors when he was President. She was untiring and inspiring in her efforts to bring equal rights for women in the United States.

She spoke openly about her breast cancer surgery at a time when the topic was talked about in hushed tones. Countless women were inspired by her public talks and began to see the value in breast examinations.

Betty Ford co-founded the Betty Ford Center to treat alcohol and drug addictions in 1982. It was the first licensed addiction hospital in the world. The non-profit center has since treated almost 100,000 men and women and their families including celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and more recently Lindsay Lohan. She raised millions of dollars for the center and was a tireless volunteer there. She regularly welcomed new patients with a speech that began, “Hello, my name’s Betty Ford, and I’m an alcoholic and drug addict.”

Betty Ford was laid to rest beside her husband who is buried on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids.

Read more:

Former First Lady Betty Ford Dies | Voice of America

Former First Lady Betty Ford Dies at 93 | The Washington Post

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