Wednesday, October 15, 2014



Grand Rapids (JFK+50) Gerald R. Ford*, the future 38th President of the United States, married Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Bloomer** at Grace Episcopal Church here in Grand Rapids 66 years ago today, October 15, 1948.

It was the second marriage for Betty who was divorced from her first husband on September 22, 1947.  Mr. Ford, who was a first-time candidate for Congress, delayed the ceremony until just a few weeks prior to election day.

The New York Times reported...

"Jerry.. wasn't sure how the voters might feel about his marrying a divorced ex-dancer."

The newlyweds moved to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. after Jerry's election to Congress where they would live for the next quarter of a century. They had 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter.  The Fords were married 58 years upon the former president's passing.

Betty and Jerry Ford
After the Wedding Ceremony
October 15, 1948
Ford Presidential Library

*Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford (1913-2006) was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He was an All-American football star at the University of Michigan and earned his law degree from Yale in 1941.

GF served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1948 where he would serve a quarter of a century and served as Minority Leader in the House from 1965 to 1973.  

He was selected by President Richard M. Nixon to replace Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew in 1974 and assumed the presidency when Nixon resigned on August 1, 1974.  

He was narrowly defeated for re-election in 1976.  Former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, won in the Electoral College by a vote of 297 to 240.

GRF died at the age of 93 in Rancho Mirage, CA and is buried at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

The Fords and The Bushs
90th Birthday Celebration
White House Photo

**Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Bloomer Ford (1918-2011) was born in Chicago.  She grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and graduated from a dance studio in 1935. While continuing her dance studies, she worked as a fashion model in New York City.

As First Lady, Betty Ford was an outspoken advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment and was named Woman of the Year in 1975.  She was also an advocate of the arts and founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, CA for the treatment of chemical dependency.

BF died at the age of 93 and is buried next to Mr. Ford on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Grand Rapids.