- NAME: Betty Ford
- OCCUPATION: U.S. First Lady
- BIRTH DATE: April 08, 1918
- DEATH DATE: July 08, 2011
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- PLACE OF DEATH: Rancho Mirage, California
- Maiden Name: Elizabeth Anne Bloomer
- AKA: Betty Ford
- Full Name: Elizabeth Anne Ford
- AKA: Elizabeth Ford
- AKA: Elizabeth Bloomer
- AKA: Betty Bloomer
- AKA: Betty Warren
Best Known For
Betty Ford became the First Lady when President Nixon resigned and made her Vice President husband, Gerald Ford, the acting President.
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In 1982, after her full recovery, Betty helped establish the Betty Ford Center, dedicated to helping all people, but especially women, with chemical dependency. Through her work at the Betty Ford Center, Betty began to understand the connection between drug addiction and those suffering from HIV/AIDS. She soon began to voice her support for gay and lesbian rights in the workplace, and spoke out in support of same-sex marriage.
In 1987, Betty Ford published a book about her treatment entitled Betty: A Glad Awakening. In 2003, Ford produced another book, Healing and Hope: Six Women from the Betty Ford Center Share Their Powerful Journeys of Addiction and Recovery. In 1991, she earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H.W. Bush; then received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999; and was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award for public service.
Gerald Ford, Betty's husband of 58 years, died on December 26, 2006, at the age of 93. The couple had four children together: Michael, John, Steven, and Susan. After her husband's death, Betty refrained from any public appearances, but remained active as chair-emeritus of the Betty Ford Center.
On July 8, 2011, Ford died of natural causes at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. After her death, her casket was flown to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it lay in the Gerald Ford Museum over the night of July 13, 2011. She was buried next to her husband during a funeral service on July 14, 2011, on what would have been her husband's 98th birthday.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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