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President Gerald R. Ford's family gathers to commemorate his passing


President Gerald R. Ford's family gathered in downtown Grand Rapids at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum yesterday to commemorate the 38th President death. President Ford passed away the day after Christmas 10 years ago. 

"It's hard to think how time files, it was such a heartfelt moment when the funeral and things were happening in Grand Rapids," said Joseph S. Calvaruso, the executive director of the Ford Foundation. "It does just seem like yesterday."

Calvaruso said he remembers how Grand Rapids responded at the time. 

"I wasn't at the Foundation at the time but I was involved in the services and activities that were happening in Grand Rapids and it was just a moment that tugged at your heartstrings," Calvaruso said. "Thousands and thousands turned out that night in the cold to pay their last respects." 

By contrast, 10 years later at the tomb of President and First Lady Betty Ford, a private gathering of family and friends commemorating the day with flowers and prayers. This day set aside as a special occasion. 

"Every year we have the wreath laying ceremony on his birthday, July 14th, so we will continue to have that event every year," Calvaruso said. "The sitting President sends flowers and we do a ceremony at the tomb. It was kind of a decision by all of us that this was just a very special moment for each of us to remember President Ford in our own way." 

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