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GRAND RAPIDS -- Fred Meijer, chairman emeritus of Meijer, Inc. and an honorary trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, served as one of 13 honorary pallbearers at the late president's burial, which took place here yesterday.
The elder Meijer was among the president's close colleagues and friends, who helped build the former president's museum and library. Ford had requested that Fred Meijer and a dozen other friends from his old days in Grand Rapids walk behind the flag-draped casket as part of a funeral plan he had prepared.
In addition to Meijer, honorary pallbearers included Peter Secchia, a former U.S. ambassador to Italy; and Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway Corp. Ford had also asked legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler to be in the honorary group, but Schembechler passed away in November. In his honor, a U-M banner was draped across a seat Schembechler would have occupied at today's funeral service at Grace Episcopal Church.