Thousands pay respects to Betty Ford in Grand Rapids

Jul 13, 2011

Betty Ford will be laid to rest Thursday afternoon in Grand Rapids. Wednesday evening, thousands paid their respects during visitation at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.

The sidewalk outside the Ford Museum was packed with people when the motorcade rolled by, carrying Betty Ford on her final trip home.

Edna Jungers and her friend Yvonne Locker traveled from Milwaukee to see the former first lady in repose.

Jungers says her son lived near the Fords when they had a condo in Vail, Colorado.

"He just loved the kindness of them. And they were so great. They'd call him by name, and he'd visit with them daily," Jungers said.

Others at the visitation remembered Mrs. Ford as a woman who wasn't afraid to discuss her battles with alcoholism and breast cancer.

Dwayne Brown says he heard a lot about Mrs. Ford growing up in Grand Rapids. He says she was just a good person.

"She did a lot for the time that she was here and stuff," Brown said. "And I wish a lot more people would live up to that standard and do and help their community and city and states like they should."

Dolores White says she'll remember Betty Ford for her outspoken support of women's rights, and for the way she handled her personal struggles.

"She let people know about her diseases, her sickness with alcoholism and her breast cancer, and I think she did a lot for people. I think this world is a better place because she was in it," White said.

A funeral service is scheduled for 2:00 Thursday afternoon. Afterward, Betty Ford will be laid to rest next to her husband at the Ford Museum.