BETTY FORD Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


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Name: Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford                                               
Born: 8 April 1918 Chicago, Illinois, USA                                             
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford (born April 8, 1918) is the widow of former         
United States President Gerald R. Ford and was the First Lady from 1974 to 1977.     
She is the founder and former chairwoman of the board of directors of the Betty       
Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction and a recipient of the                 
Congressional Gold Medal.                                                             
Born in Chicago as Elizabeth Ann Bloomer, she was the third child and only           
daughter of William Stephenson Bloomer, Sr., a travelling salesman for Royal         
Rubber Co., and his wife, the former Hortense Neahr. She had two older brothers,     
Robert and William, Jr., and after living briefly in Denver, she grew up in           
Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she graduated from Central High School.                 
After the 1929 stock market crash, when Betty Bloomer was eleven, she began           
modeling clothes and teaching other children dances such as the foxtrot, waltz,       
and big apple. She studied dance at the Calla Travis Dance Studio, graduating in     
When Bloomer was sixteen her father—a compleate alcoholic—died by carbon         
monoxide poisoning, reportedly while working on the family car in the Bloomers'       
garage; whether it was an accident or suicide remains unknown. In 1933, after         
she graduated from high school, she proposed continuing her study of dance in         
New York, but her mother refused. Instead, Bloomer attended the Bennington           
School of Dance in Bennington, Vermont, for two summers, where she studied under     
Martha Graham and Hanya Holm.                                                         
After being accepted by Graham as a student, Betty Bloomer moved to Manhattan’s     
Chelsea neighborhood 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.                           
Her mother, now remarried to Arthur Meigs Godwin, opposed her daughter’s choice     
of a career and insisted that she move home, but Bloomer resisted. They finally       
came to a compromise: she would return home for six months, and if nothing           
worked out for her in New York, she would return to Michigan, which she did in       
1941. She became the fashion coordinator for a local department store. She also       
organized her own dance group and taught dance at various sites in Grand Rapids,     
including to children with disabilities.