Betty Ford http://michiganradio.org en Her feisty character and other reasons to remember Michigan's only First Lady http://michiganradio.org/post/her-feisty-character-and-other-reasons-remember-michigans-only-first-lady <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Patricia Hill Burnett, who was famous back in the </span>1970s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> as sort of the quintessential Republican feminist, will be 94 in a few months.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">She is still defiantly pro-Equal Rights Amendment, pro-choice, and on economic issues, Republican to the core.</span></p><p>She was runner-up to Miss America 72 years ago, and went on to become both Michigan’s unofficial state portrait painter and the woman who started the state chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women.</p><p>Comfortably wealthy, she always dresses and talks, as Detroit News columnist Laura Berman says today, “like a local, more highly educated version of Zsa Zsa Gabor.”</p><p>I went to see her earlier this year when she was recovering from a brief illness, and she told me that she felt sad that many young women did not want to be called feminists any more.</p><p>She was also sad that younger women didn’t know anything about Betty Ford.</p><p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:54:35 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 18286 at http://michiganradio.org Her feisty character and other reasons to remember Michigan's only First Lady Grand Rapids hospital plans expansion, renovation http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-hospital-plans-expansion-renovation <p>GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Grand Rapids hospital has broken ground on a $54 million expansion and renovation project and the establishment of a cancer program named after former first lady Betty Ford.</p><p>The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital announced plans Tuesday to double space for patients. The project also includes renovating three buildings and adding about 300 jobs in nursing, therapy and other specialties.</p><p>Ford's daughter Susan Ford Bales announced the creation of The Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program in honor of her mother and grandmother, Hortense Neahr Bloomer. Both women were active supporters of the hospital and Betty Ford brought such previously taboo subjects as breast cancer into the public arena by candidly discussing her battle with it.</p><p>Mary Free Bed is a nonprofit hospital providing rehabilitation for children and adults. Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:56:13 +0000 The Associated Press 12063 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids hospital plans expansion, renovation “Priceless items” that belonged to former President Ford, Betty Ford, head to auction http://michiganradio.org/post/priceless-items-belonged-former-president-ford-betty-ford-head-auction <p>This week the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation is <a href="http://historical.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=49+793+794+792+2088+4294948758&amp;Nf=Lot%20No|BTWN+38271+38322">auctioning off a bunch of memorabilia </a>and personal items that once belonged to the former president.</p><p>“This is a rare opportunity for people that want to have part of President Ford or Mrs. Ford’s legacy,” Joe Calvaruso said. He’s President of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation.</p> Sun, 09 Dec 2012 19:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10270 at http://michiganradio.org “Priceless items” that belonged to former President Ford, Betty Ford, head to auction Former First Lady Betty Ford laid to rest today http://michiganradio.org/post/former-first-lady-betty-ford-laid-rest-today <p>Cameras shuttered but the crowds remained silent as uniformed officers&rsquo; took Betty Ford&rsquo;s casket into Grace Episcopal Church Thursday afternoon.&nbsp;</p><p>John Smith walked a few blocks from his home in East Grand Rapids to watch. Smith says despite their station in life, the Ford&rsquo;s never lost touch with working Americans.&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The Fords&rsquo; represent the Camelot of the common man, and what the regular guy could aspire to as a way to live and a way to be happy and they achieved it.&rdquo;</p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 22:56:47 +0000 Lindsey Smith 3324 at http://michiganradio.org Former First Lady Betty Ford laid to rest today Video of former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral procession http://michiganradio.org/post/video-former-first-lady-betty-fords-funeral-procession <p>Michigan Radio reporter Lindsey Smith watched and listened outside of Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids today when the military honor guard removed Ford&#39;s body from the hearse.</p><p>Here&#39;s her video of the event:</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KkmuELDJY8 Thu, 14 Jul 2011 22:28:51 +0000 Mark Brush 3323 at http://michiganradio.org Video of former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral procession Crowds wait for Betty Ford funeral to begin http://michiganradio.org/post/crowds-wait-betty-ford-funeral-begin <p>The funeral itself is private, but around 200 people are lining the route close to the Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids.</p><p>Donna Smith and her husband, John, live just a couple blocks away from the church and got a great spot to view the precession pass by.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;She went through a lot personally and because of her strength in fighting breast cancer, alcoholism; just being a wonderful wife and mother and supporting her family,&quot; Donna Smith says.&nbsp; &quot;I have a lot of respect for that.&quot;</p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 16:57:09 +0000 Lindsey Smith 3309 at http://michiganradio.org Crowds wait for Betty Ford funeral to begin Thousands pay respects to Betty Ford in Grand Rapids http://michiganradio.org/post/thousands-pay-respects-betty-ford-grand-rapids <p>Betty Ford will be laid to rest Thursday afternoon in Grand Rapids. Wednesday evening, thousands paid their respects during visitation at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.</p><p>The sidewalk outside the Ford Museum was packed with people when the motorcade rolled by, carrying Betty Ford on her final trip home.</p><p>Edna Jungers and her friend Yvonne Locker traveled from Milwaukee to see the former first lady in repose.</p><p>Jungers says her son lived near the Fords when they had a condo in Vail, Colorado.</p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 02:49:24 +0000 Vincent Duffy 3300 at http://michiganradio.org Thousands pay respects to Betty Ford in Grand Rapids Services for Betty Ford to be held tonight and tomorrow http://michiganradio.org/post/services-betty-ford-be-held-tonight-and-tomorrow <p>The body of former first lady Betty Ford is being moved to Michigan for a service, according to the Associated Press.</p><p>From the AP:</p><blockquote><p>The body of Betty Ford was placed on an Air Force jet for a final trip to Michigan, where the beloved<br />former first lady is to be laid to rest next to her late husband, President Gerald R. Ford.</p><p>Ford&#39;s mahogany casket, covered in flowers, was placed aboard the jet often used by Vice President Joe Biden shortly after 10a.m.</p><p>Wednesday for the four-hour flight to Grand Rapids, Mich.</p> Wed, 13 Jul 2011 20:51:05 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 3295 at http://michiganradio.org Services for Betty Ford to be held tonight and tomorrow Locations and times for Betty Ford condolence books http://michiganradio.org/post/locations-and-times-betty-ford-condolence-books <p>People who wish to express their sympathy to the Ford family can sign a condolence book at <a href="http://www.devosplace.org/LocationandParking.aspx">DeVos Place</a> in Grand Rapids:<br /><br /> Tonight (Wednesday) from 7pm-11pm and tomorrow from 7am-10am.<br /><br /> There is also a condolence book at the <a href="http://www.ford.utexas.edu/library/aboutlib.asp">Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library</a>, on North Campus in Ann Arbor. The lobby will be open for the following hours, for people who wish to sign the book:<br /><br /> Today (Wednesday) 10am-6pm<br /> Thursday and Friday 10am-6pm each day. Wed, 13 Jul 2011 20:22:37 +0000 Mike Perini 3294 at http://michiganradio.org Locations and times for Betty Ford condolence books The Importance of Betty Ford http://michiganradio.org/post/importance-betty-ford <p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-976982.mp3</p><p>They&rsquo;re bringing Betty Ford back home this week, to be buried next to her husband, President Gerald Ford, at his presidential museum in Grand Rapids.</p><p>You knew by now that the former first lady died last Friday in California. But what you may not have known unless you are in your fifties, or older, is just how important she was.</p><p>They both were, really. President Ford&rsquo;s story is better known, and best expressed by Jimmy Carter, who said when he took office: &ldquo;I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.&rdquo;</p><p>Elizabeth Bloomer Ford had a big role in that too, but she also did something else. She showed the nation that a first lady could also be a human being.</p><p>The Fords took office after the final convulsion of the Watergate scandal, and eleven of the worst years the United States has ever known. The public had learned that Richard Nixon had lied about virtually everything.</p><p>His predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, had dragged us into a war in Vietnam for reasons nobody understood, a war that went on for years and tore our nation apart. Before that, we&rsquo;d been traumatized when the young president before him had his head blown off in broad daylight. The presidency and America had taken a beating.</p><p>Nor were any of the first ladies of the period women to whom most people could relate. We&rsquo;d always been fascinated by the presidents&rsquo; wives. But they were sort of like royalty, fascinating, forbidden and distant. Betty Ford was a regular person. Just months before she moved in to the White House, she was the unknown wife of the house minority leader, looking forward to her husband&rsquo;s retirement from Congress. Then, suddenly, she was first lady.</p><p>But she was still Betty Ford, the irrepressible mother of four kids, a woman who most of all, was real. Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:08:42 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 3240 at http://michiganradio.org The Importance of Betty Ford Political leaders react to former First Lady Betty Ford's passing http://michiganradio.org/post/political-leaders-react-former-first-lady-betty-fords-passing <p>Former First Lady Betty Ford died at the age of 93.</p><p>President Obama released this statement:</p><blockquote><p>Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation&rsquo;s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women&rsquo;s health and women&rsquo;s rights.&nbsp; After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Today, we take comfort in the knowledge that Betty and her husband, former President Gerald Ford, are together once more. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to their children, Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.</p></blockquote><p>Michigan Governor Rick Snyder released this statement:</p><blockquote><p>Betty Ford was an outstanding Michigander and a shining example of how one person can truly make a difference.&nbsp; Her groundbreaking work in breast cancer awareness and treatment as well as her pioneering efforts to help those struggling with addiction changed the lives of millions of people for the better.&nbsp; She was a role model for us all as she lived her life with grace and dignity.&nbsp; While Michigan mourns the loss of this extraordinary woman, we are thankful for her years of dedication to our state and its people.</p><p>Sue and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Ford family, in particular children Michael, John, Steven and Susan.</p></blockquote><p>And this statement came from Kent GOP Chairman Sam Moore:</p><blockquote><p><span style="font-size: 8.5pt;"><span>With our deepest sympathy we extend our thoughts and prayers to the entire Ford family following the death of First Lady Betty Ford. Mrs. Ford was a pillar in our community who exemplified the strength, character and class that has defined our nation. The country has lost an American icon. We will always treasure our hometown first family, and the President and Mrs. Ford will continue to live on in our heart.</span></span></p></blockquote><p>You can view slideshows of the former First Lady at the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/07/08/us/20110709_FORD.html?ref=politics">New York Times</a>, and the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/08/betty-ford-dead_n_893718.html#s306156&amp;title=1949">Huffington Post</a> -&nbsp; and a video at <a href="http://video.foxnews.com/v/1044464731001/betty-ford-dies-at-93">Fox News</a>. Sat, 09 Jul 2011 03:37:51 +0000 Mark Brush 3226 at http://michiganradio.org Political leaders react to former First Lady Betty Ford's passing Former First Lady Betty Ford dies http://michiganradio.org/post/former-first-lady-betty-ford-dies <p>Betty Ford said things that first ladies just don&#39;t say, even today. And 1970s America loved her for it.</p><p>According to Mrs. Ford, her young adult children probably had smoked marijuana &mdash; and if she were their age, she&#39;d try it, too. She told &quot;60 Minutes&quot; she wouldn&#39;t be surprised to learn that her youngest, 18-year-old Susan, was in a sexual relationship (an embarrassed Susan issued a denial).</p> Sat, 09 Jul 2011 02:16:18 +0000 The Associated Press 3225 at http://michiganradio.org Former First Lady Betty Ford dies