Today, July 14th, 2013 marks the 100th birthday of former President Gerald R. Ford. A well respected member of Congress for several decades, he would take office as a result of the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal involving President Richard Nixon. Ford would become the first vice president appointed using the 25th Amendment, which was ratified in the late 1960s. He would also be the first President to succeed a President who had resigned from office.
Gerald R. Ford was not born Gerald R. Ford in Omaha, Nebraska in 1913. He was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. after his birth father. His parents would separate a couple of weeks after his birth. He and his mother would move to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She would remarry in 1916. The couple would start calling him Gerald R. Ford, Jr., but his name was not legally changed until the 1930s.
Ford would go to the University of Michigan where he would study Economics and play football. A star player in college, he turned down offers from the professional football organizations, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. Instead, Ford went to Yale University to serve as an assistant coach on the football team. He was denied admission to Yale Law School because of his full time coaching duties, but would be admitted for the spring term.
Ford was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1948, after service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He would marry Elizabeth Bloomer during the campaign. He would continue to serve in Congress until he became Vice President. President Johnson appointed Ford to serve on the Warren Commission. The mission of the group was to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Their report remains a point of controversy. In 1965, Ford would become the minority leader in the House.
On August 9, 1974, Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. President Ford would issue a full pardon to former President Richard Nixon for his involvement in Watergate. President Ford would be the target of two assassination attempts himself, both in the same month, September 1975. On different trips to California, two different women would try to kill him. In 1976, President Ford would lose one of the closest elections in U.S. history to Jimmy Carter of Georgia.
He and his wife would move to Rancho Mirage, California after leaving the White House. He would die in his home on December 26, 2006.
“Gerald R. Ford | The White House.” The White House. http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/geraldford (accessed July 13, 2013).
“Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.” Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/grf/fordbiop.asp (accessed July 13, 2013).