Monday, July 14, 2014



Grand Rapids (JFK+50) Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, was born in Omaha, Nebraska 101 years ago today, July 14, 1913.

Ford grew up, however, here in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he became an Eagle Scout, the only President of the United States to hold that distinction.

Gerald R. Ford
Official White House Portrait

Jerry Ford was an All-American football player at the University of Michigan where he graduated with a major in economics in 1935.  Having turned down several professional football offers, he attended Yale Law School where he earned his degree in 1941.

Mr. Ford served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1948 where he would serve a quarter of a century.

President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Congressman Ford to serve on the Warren Commission which investigated the death of President John F. Kennedy.

Gerald Ford served as Republican Minority Leader in the House from 1965 to 1973.  He was selected by President Richard M. Nixon to replace Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew in 1974 and assumed the presidency when Nixon resigned on August 1, 1974.

Ford became the first and only president to assume both the Vice-Presidency and the Presidency without having been elected to either office.

In one of the most controversial actions ever taken by a POTUS, Mr. Ford gave a "full and free pardon" to President Nixon on September 8, 1974.  

Despite the heated criticism of the pardon, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation later gave Gerald Ford the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award.

Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, who initially opposed the pardon, said that history had proved it to be the correct decision. 

President Ford described himself as "a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative on fiscal policy."

President Ford was narrowly defeated for re-election in 1976.  Former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, won in the Electoral College by a vote of 297 to 240.

The Fords and The Bushs
90th Birthday Celebration
White House Photo

Former President Gerald R. Ford died at the age of 93 in Rancho Mirage, California and is buried at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library here in Grand Rapids.

Mr. Ford had the longest lifespan of any of the United States presidents.