Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Betty Ford April 8, 1918 – July 8, 2011

On August 30, 1976, Betty Ford, wife of President Gerald Ford, became Girl Scouts of the USA’s 11th Honorary President. Ford, who died aged 93 on Friday, July 8, 2011, helped bring previously taboo subjects such as breast cancer into public discussion and openly discussed her own battle with the disease. She was candid about her struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, and spearheaded the Betty Ford Center to treat those addictions.

Rosalynn Carter, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Bush and Nancy Reagan attended the funeral of the former first lady. Speakers hailed Ford for reshaping the role of first lady with her plain-spoken candor and as an inspiration for the addiction rehabilitation centers that bear her name.

"Millions of women are in her debt today and she was never afraid to speak the truth even about the most sensitive subjects, including her own struggle with alcohol and painkillers," said Rosalynn Carter, who succeeded her in the White House. "She got some criticism, but I thought she was wonderful and her honesty gave to others every single day."

In the years after leaving the White House in 1977, she continued to lead an active public life. In addition to founding the Betty Ford Center, she remained active in women's issues taking on numerous speaking engagements and lending her name to charities for fundraising.

Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.