Casket carrying Betty Ford arrives at church

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PALM DESERT, California (AP) — The casket containing former First Lady Betty Ford has arrived at the Southern California desert church where she and the nation’s 38th president worshipped.

California Highway Patrol motorcycles and squad cars escorted the hearse and family members in four black sedans and six SUVS, followed by a backup hearse.

The hearse pulled up to the side entrance of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. It was carried inside by military service members, followed by the family.

Ford, the accidental first lady, was thrust into the White House when Richard Nixon resigned as president on Aug. 9, 1974. She went on to reshape the role of first lady with her plain-talking candor.