Key dates in the life of Betty Ford:
April 8, 1918: Elizabeth "Betty" Bloomer born in Chicago.
1920: Family moves to Grand Rapids, Mich.
1936: Graduates from Central High School in Grand Rapids; spends next years studying dance, working for a time in New York with famed choreographer Martha Graham.
1942: Marries salesman William Warren in Grand Rapids; the union ends in divorce.
Oct. 15, 1948: Marries Gerald Ford.
Nov. 2, 1948: Gerald Ford elected to U.S. House of Representatives. In Congress for nearly 25 years, including stint as House minority leader.
March 14, 1950: Birth of first child, Michael Gerald. The Fords' other children are John Gardner, born in 1952; Steven Meigs, 1956; and Susan Elizabeth, 1957.
Dec. 6, 1973: Gerald Ford confirmed as vice president after resignation of Spiro Agnew.
Aug. 9, 1974: Gerald Ford becomes president after resignation of Richard Nixon.
Sept. 28, 1974: Betty Ford undergoes mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her openness about the disease helped encourage other women to get tested.
September 1975: Two attempts on President Gerald Ford's life, both unsuccessful, in California.
Nov. 2, 1976: Ford defeated by Jimmy Carter in quest for a full term as president.
Jan. 20, 1977: Carter is inaugurated; Fords leave the White House.
April 1978: The former president and their children persuade Betty Ford to seek treatment for abuse of medication, alcohol. ("I didn't say a word, just listened and cried," she wrote later.)
November 1978: Betty Ford publishes memoir, "The Times of My Life."
1982: Betty Ford Center opens at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
1987: Her book, "A Glad Awakening," about her recovery from substance abuse, is published; ABC-TV broadcasts "The Betty Ford Story," starring Gena Rowlands.
1991: Betty Ford is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
1999: Gerald and Betty Ford both presented with Congressional Gold Medals.
August 2000: Gerald Ford suffers small stroke while attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
2005: Betty Ford steps down as chairman of the Betty Ford Center board.
Dec. 26, 2006: Gerald Ford dies at age 93.
April 2007: Betty Ford undergoes surgery for an undisclosed ailment.
Aug. 31, 2007: Attends ceremony in California for issuance of postage stamp honoring her husband.
Betty Ford Center: http://www.bettyfordcenter.org/
Gerald Ford library and museum: http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/
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