News / USA

George W. Bush, Michelle Obama Gather for Betty Ford Funeral

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty talk to reporters outside the White House in this August 11, 1999 file photo.
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty talk to reporters outside the White House in this August 11, 1999 file photo.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and former president George W. Bush were among those at a funeral for former first lady Betty Ford, who died Friday in California at the age of 93.

Rosalynn Carter, another former first lady and close friend of Mrs. Ford, gave the first of three eulogies Tuesday.  

Mrs. Carter praised Mrs. Ford for her courage and grace in fighting against stigma and prejudices.  She said Mrs. Ford was "never afraid to speak the truth even about the most sensitive subjects," including her own struggles with addiction and cancer.

Another speaker, journalist Cokie Roberts, said Mrs. Ford had asked her in advance to speak at her funeral to remind people how Washington, DC, "used to be."

Roberts' mother was a close friend of Mrs. Ford's, and her father worked with Mrs. Ford's husband, former president Gerald Ford, then a congressman in the 1950s.  Roberts says her father and Mr. Ford would argue passionately about issues but still maintained a friendship that "made governing possible."  And she said her mother, Mrs. Ford and other political wives also forged strong connections and made "the men behave."  Roberts said she wished current congressmen would try to get together as nicely.

Roberts joked Mrs. Ford may have timed her death to ensure this message would come this week, as lawmakers and President Barack Obama engage in a contentious debate over the budget and the national debt.

The service for Mrs. Ford was held at a church in Palm Desert, California.  Her remains will be flown to Michigan for a public viewing and burial alongside her husband, who died in 2006.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan, both former first ladies, also attended the funeral.

Mrs. Ford was an outspoken advocate for women's rights and women's health.

As first lady from 1974 to 1977, she became known for her candor, famously discussing women's rights, premarital sex and abortion in a television interview.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer while at the White House, and became a champion for breast cancer research and awareness.

After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford acknowledged and sought treatment for an addiction to alcohol and painkillers.  In 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center in California, still one of the most well-known and well-regarded treatment centers for substance abuse.

Mrs. Ford was born in Chicago in 1918.  She moved to New York in her twenties and worked as a dancer and model.

The late president Ford was her second husband.  The two wed shortly before he was elected to serve in Congress in 1948.  He became vice president in 1973 after the resignation of Spiro Agnew - and became president in 1974 after the Watergate scandal led president Richard Nixon to resign.

President Obama said Mrs. Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion.  He said that as the nation's first lady, she was a powerful advocate for women's health and women's rights.



You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More