Betty Ford Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of former First Lady of the United States Betty Ford.

Birth date:
April 8, 1918

Death date: July 8, 2011

Birth name: Elizabeth Anne Bloomer

Birth place: Chicago, Illinois

Father: William Bloomer, a salesman

Mother: Hortense (Neahr) Bloomer

Marriages: William Warren (1942-1947, divorce); Gerald Ford (October 15, 1948-December 26, 2006, his death)

Children: with Gerald Ford: Michael Gerald, March 14, 1950; John Gardner, March 16, 1952; Steven Meigs, May 19, 1956; Susan Elizabeth, July 6, 1957

Other Facts:
After graduating high school, she attended the Bennington School of the Dance in Vermont.

Lobbied for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

1926 -
Begins taking dance lessons.

1939 - Moves to New York City to study dance at the Martha Graham School.

1941 - Moves back to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she grew up. Works for Herpolsheimer's department store and teaches dance classes.

1948 - Marries Gerald Ford in the middle of his campaign for representative of Michigan's fifth district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

October 1973 - Spiro T. Agnew resigns as vice president of the United States and Gerald Ford is nominated to take his place.

December 6, 1973 - Gerald Ford is sworn in as vice president.

August 9, 1974 - Becomes First Lady of the United States after Nixon resigns and Ford is sworn in as the 38th president of the United States.

September 1974 - Is diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoes surgery. Afterwards, openly discusses the disease and treatment with the public.

1975 - Appears on "60 Minutes" and discusses abortion, pre-marital sex and marijuana.

April 11, 1978 - Enters Long Beach Naval Hospital for treatment of alcohol and prescription painkiller abuse.

1978 - Her autobiography "The Times of My Life" is released.

1982 - Along with Leonard Firestone, opens The Betty Ford Center, for the treatment of addiction, in Rancho Mirage, California. Ford is named chairman of the board of the center.

1983 - Is given the Komen Foundation award for support of breast cancer education. The award is later renamed the Betty Ford Award.

1987 - Her second autobiography, "Betty: A Glad Awakening," is released.

November 18, 1991 - Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush.

October 27, 1999 - The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to President and Mrs. Ford.

2005 - Steps down as chairman of the board for The Betty Ford Center.

December 26, 2006 - President Ford dies.

July 8, 2011 - Dies at age 93.

July 14, 2011 - Is interred next to her husband on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.