Betty Ford, founder of the Betty Ford Center, former First Lady, and widow of Gerald Ford died yesterday in Palm Springs CA. She was 93.
“Betty Ford was good at doing the things that every first lady does: accompanying her husband on tours and public ceremonies and holding dinners and parties. Her parties usually lasted past midnight as she danced from one partner to another.
But unlike many other wives of presidents, Mrs. Ford rarely hesitated to make public her views on touchy subjects. She held a White House news conference announcing her support of the Equal Rights Amendment; the mail response ran three to one against her. In 1975, appearing on “60 Minutes,” she said she “wouldn’t be surprised” if her daughter, Susan, had a premarital affair; the mail was four to one against her. Her husband jokingly told her later that the comment had cost him 20 million votes in the 1976 election, she said.
A decade later, reminiscing with Margaret Truman for Ms. Truman’s book “First Ladies,” she voiced regret over that television appearance. Later that year, despite her advocacy for abortion rights, she reined herself in. She said nothing about the Republican platform that called for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.”
More from the New York Times article here.
The article ends with this quote from Ford:
“I am an ordinary woman who was called onstage at an extraordinary time,” she wrote in the prologue to her first autobiography. “I was no different once I became first lady than I had been before. But through an accident of history, I had become interesting to people.”
Much more coverage here.
According to the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, Ford’s funeral is expected to take place on Tuesday at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert though the plans have not been made public yet.