RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. —Public and private memorial ceremonies will be held in California and Michigan this week for former first lady Betty Ford as her casket travels to be laid to rest alongside her husband in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Family attorney and spokesman Greg Willard said Saturday that Ford died of natural causes at Eisenhower Medical Center at 3:30 p.m. Friday, and ceremonies are proceeding according to her wishes.
Ceremonies will be held Tuesday at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert.
On Wednesday morning, her casket will travel by motorcade to the Palm Springs airport, destined for Michigan.
Ceremonies will be held in Grand Rapids on Wednesday night before burial on Thursday.
For eulogies, Ford chose former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, Lynne Cheney and Cokie Roberts to speak, among others.
In Rancho Mirage, residents were saddened by her death even as they praised her devotion to removing the stigma from addiction. The Betty Ford Center treated more than 90,000 people since its beginnings in 1982 and although it was most famous for a string of celebrity patients, it kept its rates relatively affordable and provided a model for effective addiction treatment.
Carol Pruter, 67, said she was proud that Betty Ford chose to set up her rehab center in Rancho Mirage and admired the former first lady's approach to life.
Pruter's family attends the same Episcopal church as the Fords in nearby Palm Desert and sometimes saw them at services. The couple was always surrounded by Secret Service, but they would nod and smile politely at other worshippers, she said.
"You couldn't get too close but you would acknowledge them and they were always very gracious and they would acknowledge you," she said.