Preparing for Betty Ford's final trip home

6:14 AM, Jul 13, 2011   |    comments
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A military honor guard carries the casket of former first lady Betty Ford into St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Palm Desert, California. AP image.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-- The public will have an opportunity to file past former first lady Betty Ford's coffin after it arrives at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Wednesday.

"The preparations are moving along well," says Ford Foundation spokesman Matt McLogan. "Everyone here has some practice at it because of President Ford's funeral."

Mrs. Ford's body will lie in public repose at the museum from 7 P.M. until 11 P.M. Wednesday and from  7 A.M. until 10 A.M. Thursday.

A long line of people is expected to file through.

"Because Mrs. Ford meant a lot to Grand Rapids," said Kenya Gilbreath after signing the condolence book at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. "She did a lot and opened a lot of doors."

If there are still people in line when Wednesday's night's period of public repose ends, the museum will remain open until everyone waiting can pay their respects.

"It's a sign of respect ," says Betty Ford admirer Leona Scraight. "She is loved and she will be missed just like President Ford was."

A private funeral for Mrs. Ford is scheduled for 2 P.M. at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids. Following the funeral, she will be laid to rest beside her husband at the Ford Presidential Museum.

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