Betty Ford: Memorial Services to be Held in Michigan and California

Ford was a pioneer who redefined the role of first lady.

July 10, 2011, 11:00 AM

July 10, 2011 — -- Public and private services will be held in California and Michigan for former first lady Betty Ford, who died of natural causes.

She died Friday at the age of 93.

Ford, whose candor and courage touched the nation, will first be remembered in a private service Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where she and President Ford lived after the White House.

On Wednesday, her casket will be flown to Grand Rapids, Mich. where a public memorial and funeral service are scheduled.

Ford's dear friends Lynn Cheney, Cokie Roberts, and Rosalyn Carter, whose husband defeated Gerald Ford in the race for the White House in 1976, will deliver her eulogies.

"The relationship that Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Carter had was one of the deepest and richest of Mrs. Ford's life. It was a wonderful, wonderful friendship. One that was very dear to Mrs. Ford," said Greg Willard, a personal representative of the Ford Family Funeral Service.

Ford impacted lives around the word, making public her struggles with breast cancer and substance abuse and opening the treatment center that bears her name.

"Shame and stigma were significantly reduced and the Betty Ford Center has become a model for effective treatment," Dr. Scott Basinger, associate dean at Baylor College of Medicine, told ABC News Saturday.

"Betty Ford was one of the first public figures to put a face on alcoholism as a disease and she raised awareness of the need for treatment and helped society understand recovery as a lifelong process," Dessa Bergen-Cico, assistant professor of Public Health and Addiction Studies at Syracuse University, told ABC News Saturday.

On Thursday, she will be laid to rest alongside her husband on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford presidential museum.

"Obviously the outpouring for the Ford family is extremely strong. We look forward to welcoming Mrs. Ford home," said Tim Pietryga, a Ford Foundation spokesman.

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