"Lloyd Bentsen lived a rich full life full of discipline, energy, grace and joy," Clinton told mourners at Houston's First Presbyterian Church. "He touched the lives of billions of others here in his beloved Texas, across our country and eventually all around the world."
Bentsen, who died last week at 85, was Clinton's first Treasury secretary, serving for two years, and ran as Michael Dukakis' vice-presidential running mate on the 1988 Democratic ticket.
He had been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a disabling stroke in 1999, the Houston Chronicle said.
Clinton said the Texas Democrat had the demeanor of a cool patrician, but was respected for his openness and direct way of dealing with people.
Burial was private at Forest Park Lawndale cemetery.