Three Ex-Presidents Mourn Ford, the Man Who Healed America

Article excerpt

GEORGE Bush Senior pierced the solemnity of Gerald Ford's funeral yesterday by joking about the former president's shortcomings at golf.

At a ceremony attended by all three living ex-presidents, he said Ford knew his game was improving when he found he was hitting fewer spectators.

His son also paid tribute to the man summoned to the presidency in the middle of the Watergate crisis.

'In President Ford, the world saw the best of America and America found a man whose character and leadership would bring calm and healing to one of the most divisive moments in our nation's history,' Bush Junior said in his eulogy.

The president had earlier escorted Ford's widow Betty into Washington's National Cathedral.

The service was also attended by Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, who defeated Ford in the 1976 election.

Henry Kissinger, Ford's secretary of state, said his modesty meant his achievements were often overlooked.

He added: 'In his understated way he did his duty as a leader, not as a performer playing to the gallery.

'Gerald Ford had the virtues of small town America.' More than 3,000 people mourned the man who was charged with restoring trust in government after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 rather than face impeachment. …