Current and Former First Ladies Gather for Ford Funeral

Palm Desert, California

Michelle Obama and three former first ladies were among dignitaries heading to California to pay tribute to Betty Ford at a funeral focusing on her twin passions: politics and her world famous Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and alcohol treatment.

Ford, who died at the age of 93 on Friday, had mapped out plans for Tuesday’s ceremony including who would deliver her eulogies.

She chose former first lady Rosalynn Carter and journalist Cokie Roberts as speakers along with a former director of the Betty Ford Center.

Obama, Nancy Reagan, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton said they would be there. And the former first lady of California, Maria Shriver, also planned to attend.

A spokesman for former President George W. Bush said he will be attending the California service and will convey condolences on behalf of his wife, Laura, who can’t attend.

A second funeral will be held Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Gerald Ford is buried at his presidential museum. Former first lady Barbara Bush is expected to attend that event.

Speakers are expected to discuss politics, the White House and Ford’s impact on substance and alcohol abuse treatment.

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