Elizabeth Anne Bloomer was born on April 8, 1918, in Chicago to William S. Bloomer and the former Hortense Neahr. She married William C. Warren, a furniture dealer. The marriage ended in divorce in 1947, and she did not ask for alimony.
Some months after her divorce, she began dating Gerald R. Ford, a lawyer with political ambitions and a man she described as “probably the most eligible bachelor in Grand Rapids.” He proposed in February 1948. They were married on Oct. 15, 1948, while he was running his first race for a seat in the House of Representatives. The groom was 35; the bride, 30. They spent their two-day honeymoon at Republican Party rallies.
Their first son, Michael, was born in 1950 while the Fords lived in an apartment in Georgetown. By 1952, when John was born, they had moved to an apartment in suburban Northern Virginia. Steven was born in 1956, a year after the Fords’ split-level house in Alexandria, Va., was completed. Susan, their only daughter, came along the next year.
Mrs. Ford remained active in the Betty Ford Center and in feminist causes.
She is survived by her three sons, her daughter and five grandchildren.