via Michigan in Pictures…
First Lady Betty Ford (Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford) passed away on July 8, 2011. She was born in Chicago on April 8, 1918. After a brief stint in Colorado, she moved with her family to Grand Rapids and graduated from Central High School. In 1948, she married Gerald Ford, who was campaigning for what would be his first of thirteen terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. They were married fifty-eight years until his death in 2006. Despite the fact that she had one of the shortest terms as First Lady, she was definitely one of the most influental women to have held the position:
In the opinion of The New York Times and several presidential historians, “Mrs. Ford’s impact on American culture may be far wider and more lasting than that of her husband, who served a mere 896 days, much of it spent trying to restore the dignity of the office of the president.”
The paper went on to describe her as “a product and symbol of the cultural and political times—doing the Bump along the corridors of the White House, donning a mood ring, chatting on her CB radio with the handle First Mama—a housewife who argued passionately for equal rights for women, a mother of four who mused about drugs, abortion and premarital sex aloud and without regret.” In 1975, in an interview with McCall’s magazine, Ford said that she was asked just about everything, except for how often she and the president had sex. “And if they’d asked me that I would have told them,” she said, adding that her response would be, “As often as possible.”
Ford was also instrumental in raising awareness of breast cancer and founded the Betty Ford Center after a battle with alcoholism. You definitely have to watch this PBS feature on Betty Ford – it’s one of the best and there are also some interviews with her children as well. Also see President Gerald R. Ford – 1913 – 2006 on Absolute Michigan.
The Detroit News reports that public viewing of her casket will be held in the atrium of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum today from 7-11 PM and Thursday from 7-10 AM. Following a 2 PM service tomorrow, Ford will be buried beside President Ford on the Museum grounds.