(Elizabeth Ann Bloomer, Elizabeth Ann Warren)
former First Lady of the United States, humanitarian
Birthplace: Chicago, Ill.
A former dancer with the Martha Graham Company in New York, Betty Bloomer married Gerald R. Ford just two weeks before the election that would send him to Washington, D.C. for the next 30 years. She became First Lady during one of the most tumultuous times in United States history when her husband assumed the office of President after the resignation of the disgraced Richard M. Nixon. Mrs. Ford was known as an outspoken First Lady, supporting such controversial issues as the Equal Rights Amendment, gays in the military, and the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Her openness about her bout with breast cancer, which she battled in 1974, helped to raise awareness about the disease. In 1978, she founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic, which remains a focus in her life.