At the national funeral for Mr. Ford in Washington Tuesday, President Bush recalled the former president's small-town upbringing, his character and humility, his leadership and service to his country.
Thousands of people, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, gathered at the National Cathedral for the funeral.
Mr. Ford, a Republican, assumed the presidency in 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon during the Watergate political scandal. He died last week in California at the age of 93.
Mr. Bush's father - former President George H.W. Bush - recalled Mr. Ford as a man with a great sense of humor and whose life was marked by honor and integrity.
Tributes also were given by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former NBC-TV newsman Tom Brokaw.
The casket carrying the body of Mr. Ford was moved Tuesday morning from the U.S. Capitol building to the cathedral. Mourners lined the streets to view the passing procession. A cathedral bell was to toll 38 times, in honor of Mr. Ford's service as 38th president of the United States.
Mr. Ford's remains are to be flown Tuesday to the northern state of Michigan. He is to be buried Wednesday in his hometown of Grand Rapids.
Mr. Ford served for nearly 26 years in the House of Representatives before being appointed in 1973 to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew, who resigned amid a scandal. Mr. Ford became president in 1974 after Mr. Nixon resigned, but he lost a bid to continue in office to Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Mr. Ford is widely credited with helping the nation recover from the trauma of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that forced Mr. Nixon from office.