Funeral Service To Be Held For Former First Lady

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 8:00 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A funeral service for former U.S. first lady Betty Ford will be held Thursday before she is laid to rest next to her husband in her hometown in the northern state of Michigan.

Mrs. Ford's flower-draped casket arrived Wednesday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where hundreds of mourners participated in a procession and public viewing.

Thursday's service will be held at the church where she and Gerald Ford were married. Following the funeral, Mrs. Ford will be interred next to her husband on the grounds of the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and former president George W. Bush were among those at a memorial service in California on Tuesday for Mrs. Ford, who died last Friday at the age of 93.

Mrs. Ford was an outspoken advocate for women's rights and women's health. As first lady from 1974 to 1977, she became known for her candor, famously discussing women's rights, premarital sex and abortion in a television interview. She was diagnosed with breast cancer while at the White House, and became a champion for breast cancer research and awareness.

After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford acknowledged and sought treatment for an addiction to alcohol and painkillers. In 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center in California, still one of the most well-known and well-regarded treatment centers for substance abuse.

Mr. Ford, who died in 2006, was her second husband. The two wed shortly before he was elected to Congress in 1948. He became vice president in 1973 after the resignation of Spiro Agnew — and became president in 1974 after the Watergate scandal led president Richard Nixon to resign.