Betty Ford dead at 93
A truly remarkable woman who left her mark on America in many different ways.
Betty Ford, wife of former President Gerald Ford and the founder of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction, has died at age 93.
In public, she was one of the most visible and outspoken first ladies in history. In private, she triumphed over serious personal adversity.
She was married to Gerald Ford for 58 years. Shortly after becoming president in 1974, Ford said, "I am indebted to no man and to only one woman, my dear wife."
Ford died Friday at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., ABC News has learned. Her cause of death was not immediately clear.
Her work to raise awareness of breast cancer following her masectomy was typical of her courage. Few even talked in public about breast cancer at that time, and Betty Ford (followed a decade later by Nancy Reagan) changed the national conversation about prevention and early detection.
Her own addiction to alcohol led her to open one of the best in-patient treatment centers in the country - The Betty Ford Center. She was also a tireless worker on mental health issues.
Mrs. Ford was pro-choice, pro-ERA, and pro-feminist at a time when the Republican party was changing. Rather than recall her differences with today's party on social issues, perhaps we should concentrate on remembering how many lives she has saved over the years and the individuals she has touched.