Betty Ford eulogized as a 'trailblazer'

July 14, 2011 at 6:53 PM
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 14 (UPI) -- Former U.S. first lady Betty Ford was eulogized Thursday as a trailblazer who inspired generations of women to face the realities of illness and addition.

Historian Richard Norton Smith, speaking at the 2 p.m. funeral service Thursday at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids, Mich., said Ford was not only a liberated woman, she was also a great liberator, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, former first lady Barbara Bush and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder attended the service, where Ford's four children -- Michael, Steven and Jack and Susan Ford Bales -- sat in the front row, the newspaper said.

Lynne Cheney, a close friend of Betty Ford, said she admired the former first lady for remaining true to herself after she was thrust into the White House spotlight.

"Through it all, Ford kept her bearings," Cheney said.

The congregation concluded the service by singing "A Mighty Fortress" as family members prepared Ford's casket for the drive to the Gerald R. Ford Museum. The casket arrived at its final resting place next to the former president just after 4 p.m. on what would have been his 98th birthday, the newspaper said.

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