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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

First lady once had house in Maumee

When Betty Ford, then Betty Warren, lived in this house at 622 River Road in Maumee, she worked at the Lasalle & Koch store. When Betty Ford, then Betty Warren, lived in this house at 622 River Road in Maumee, she worked at the Lasalle & Koch store.
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Decades before the White House, the former Betty Bloomer lived in Maumee for 10 months as a newlywed - to William C. Warren, not Gerald R. Ford.

She and Mr. Warren married in 1942, and their first house was at 622 River Rd. His work required frequent travel and frequent relocation.

"She followed him around at that time [because] he was a salesman," said John Robert Greene, who wrote the biography, Betty Ford: Candor and Courage in the White House.

"She was all over the Midwest. I don't think she was any place more than a year."

The then-Mrs. Warren became a demonstrator at the Lasalle & Koch department store in downtown Toledo, a job that included modeling, working in the fashion office, and selling merchandise. By chance, their next-door neighbor was John Barker, who knew the couple - and Gerald Ford - from high school in Grand Rapids.

Mr. Barker and his wife had the Warrens over for meals and introduced the couple to people in the Toledo area, he told The Blade in 1974.

Before long, though, the Warrens moved.

Betty Ford in 1948. Betty Ford in 1948.
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"It was part of a lifestyle that really did not appeal to Betty Ford," Mr. Greene said.

"It was part of what made the marriage a challenge. She never really had a place she could call home with Bill Warren."

The home, built in 1928, is now owned by Steve and Teresa Braun.

Mr. Braun, who is the owner of Car Stereo One stores on Monroe Street and Airport Highway, said he had no idea the former First Lady lived at the house.

"I didn't even know she lived in this area," Mr. Braun said. "It's just crazy. Do you think that will add value [to the house] or take it away?"

Mr. Braun bought the home for about $125,000 about five years ago.

Mr. Braun and his wife are renting the house to their daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Yohan Rigogne.

The Warrens were divorced in 1947. She and Gerald Ford married Oct. 15, 1948.

When their youngest son was born in 1956, he was named Steven Meigs Ford, but apparently not after historic Fort Meigs in Perrysburg.

Mrs. Ford's stepfather was Arthur Meigs Godwin.



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