Betty Ford, easily the most respected first lady since Jackie O and before Michelle Obama, has passed away at the age of 93 in Rancho Mirage, California. While her husband, former president Gerald Ford, who passed away in 2006, was often criticized for his formal pardoning of Nixon, Betty Ford remained an iconic woman whose role in charity and activism towards alcohol addiction was respected by millions.
She started The Betty Ford Center in 1982 after her family staged an intervention for her alcohol dependency a decade earlier. Ford also continued to be an active leader of the feminist movement even after the end of her husband’s role as President. She continued to strongly lobby politicians for passage of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).
At age 93, Betty Ford was the oldest surviving former occupant of the White House. She passed away July 8th from natural causes.
The always outspoken former first-lady chose years ago who would give the eulogies at her funeral ceremony which is now underway. She was loved by all and will be missed. Her legacies, however, from the Center to women’s rights activism, live on.