Betty FORD

Family tree of Betty FORD


AmericanBorn Elizabeth Anne BLOOMER

First Lady of the United States during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford

Born on April 8, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois, USA , United States

Died on July 8, 2011 in Rancho Mirage, California, USA

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She was born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer in Chicago, Illinois, the third child and only daughter of William Stephenson Bloomer, Sr. (July 19, 1874 – July 18, 1934), a traveling salesman for Royal Rubber Co., and his wife, Hortense (née Neahr; July 11, 1884 – November 20, 1948).

Hortense and William married on Nov 9th 1904 in Chicago Illinois. Her two older brothers were Robert and William Jr. After living briefly in Denver, Colorado, she grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she graduated from Central High School.


After the 1929 stock market crash, when Ford was age 14, she began modeling clothes and teaching children dances such as the foxtrot, waltz, and big apple. She also entertained and worked with children with disabilities at the Mary Free Bed Home for Crippled Children. She studied dance at the Calla Travis Dance Studio, graduating in 1935.

When Ford was age 16, her father died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the family's garage while working under their car, despite the garage doors being open. He died the day before his 60th birthday.

In 1936, after she graduated from high school, she proposed continuing her study of dance in New York City, but her mother refused. Instead, she attended the Bennington School of Dance in Bennington, Vermont, for two summers, where she studied under director Martha Hill with choreographers Martha Graham and Hanya Holm. After being accepted by Graham as a student, Ford moved to New York City to live in its Manhattan's Chelsea neighbourhood and worked as a fashion model for the John Robert Powers firm in order to finance her dance studies. She joined Graham's auxiliary troupe and eventually performed with the company at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

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