A condolence book is seen at a small memorial for Betty Ford at the Gerald R. Ford School for Public Policy on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Mich. A memorial service will be held in Southern California on July 12, 2011, for the former First Lady.
Tuesday's memorial service for former first lady Betty Ford, who died Friday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage at the age of 93, will be attended by current and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter.
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Rosalynn Carter is scheduled to deliver one of the eulogies, along with National Public Radio news analyst Cokie Roberts and Geoffrey Mason, former director of the Betty Ford Center, according to Ford family representatives.
Current First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to attend. As are Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan. Bill Clinton was scheduled to attend, but his flight was canceled.
The private service will be held at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert from 11:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Desert Sun reported. About 1,000 people are expected to attend, the newspaper reported. Ford and her late husband, Gerald, had worshipped at the church since moving to the region after he left office in 1977.
She will later be buried next to her husband at the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. He died in 2006, also at the age of 93.
Public Invited to Attend Post-Memorial Service Repose
The public can pay their respects to the former first lady by attending a post-memorial service repose Tuesday or by lining a motorcade route to the airport on Wednesday.
Long lines are expected for the repose at St. Margaret's Church, which is scheduled from 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday. A memorial book will be available to sign.
No parking will be available at the church. Free shuttles will operate from the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens, 78200 Miles Ave., with boardings from 3- 10:30 p.m. The last bus will leave at 10:45 p.m.
No cameras or video equipment, large bags or strollers will be allowed inside the church, according to family representatives.
Route 74 in Palm Desert will be closed from 4 a.m. Tuesday until 10 a.m. Wednesday for the motorcade, which will leave the church for Palm Springs International Airport at 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to the family.
The motorcade (map) will depart on Monterey Avenue; turn west onto Highway 111, then north onto Gene Autry Trail and proceed to the Atlantic Aviation terminal. A departure ceremony for invited guests is scheduled for 9:20 a.m.
Ford's body will be flown by military aircraft from Palm Springs to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich., then transported to the Gerald R. Ford Museum, where she will be interred next to her husband. A memorial service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids on Thursday.
View Betty Ford motorcade route in a larger map
Betty Ford Dead at 93
Betty Ford was a champion for breast-cancer awareness, abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment while First Lady. But she will probably be best remembered for her public battle against addiction to alcohol and pain pills and for co-founding the addiction-treatment center that bears her name.
Her four children -- Michael Gerald, 61; John Gardner, 59; Steven Meigs, 55; and Susan Ford Bales, 54 -- issued a statement after their mother's death, saying her "love, candor, devotion and laughter enriched our lives and the lives of millions she touched throughout this great nation."
"To be in her presence was to know the warmth of a truly great lady. Mother's passing leaves a deep void, but it also fills us with immeasurable appreciation for the life we and dad shared with her."
Betty Ford, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, served as chair of the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage until she was 88.
"As our nation's first lady, she was a powerful advocate for women's health and women's rights," President Barack Obama said Friday. "After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment.
"While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life."
Born in Chicago on April 8, 1918, Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Bloomer was raised in Grand Rapids. She attended the Bennington School of Dance in Vermont for two summers after graduating from high school in 1936 and eventually became a member of choreographer Martha Graham's Auxiliary Performance Troupe, performing at Carnegie Hall.
After moving back to Michigan, she formed her own dance group and worked with disabled children, helping them experience the rhythm of dance -- beginning a lifetime of philanthropic work.
She married a salesman named William Warren in 1942, but they divorced a few years later.
In 1947, she was introduced by a friend to Gerald R. Ford, and they were engaged by February of the next year. The couple married in October 1948, and Ford was elected to Congress two weeks later. He went on to serve in the House of Representatives for 25 years.
In 1973, the Fords were planning to retire, but Gerald Ford was chosen by President Richard Nixon to replace the resigned Spiro Agnew as vice president. When Nixon resigned in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal, Ford became the nation's 38th president.
Not long after Ford took office, Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her public battle with the disease and openness in discussing her condition was credited with raising public awareness of treatment options.
She continued during her husband's administration to be outspoken on women's rights, abortion rights and other hot-button topics -- earning her some criticism from conservative Republicans.
After Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, the couple moved to Rancho Mirage. Betty Ford began coping with her prescription drug and alcohol abuse when she was confronted by relatives urging her to seek help. She checked into Long Beach Naval Hospital for treatment -- a process she detailed in her 1978 autobiography, "The Times of My Life."
Betty Ford went on to become one of the most famous spokeswomen for alcohol and drug treatment, co-founding the Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Medical Center in 1982.
Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet called her "a true inspiration for millions of Americans. Her work with substance abuse here in the Coachella Valley had a far-reaching effect and she will be greatly missed."
Former President George H.W. Bush called the former first lady "a wonderful wife and mother, a great friend and a courageous first lady."
"No one confronted life's struggles with more fortitude or honesty, and as a result, we all learned from the challenges we faced," he said. "The Betty Ford Center, which already has helped change the lives of thousands of people, will be her lasting legacy of care and concern."
Former first lady Nancy Reagan said she was "deeply saddened" by Betty Ford's passing.
"She had been an inspiration to so many through her efforts to educate women about breast cancer and her wonderful work at the Betty Ford Center," Reagan said. "She was Jerry Ford's strength through some very difficult days in our country's history, and I admired her courage in facing and sharing her personal struggles with all of us."
Vice President Joe Biden, a senator when Gerald Ford was president, said that "throughout her life, Betty displayed strength, courage and determination that provided hope for millions of Americans seeking a healthier, happier future.
"Her legacy and work will live on through the millions of lives she has touched and the many more who will continue to look to her for inspiration."