A Look At Ford's Life

Former President Gerald Ford is shown in this Sept. 15, 1988 file photo. AP Photo/John Duricka

President Bush remembered former President Gerald Ford as a "man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts" and helped restore faith in the presidency after the Watergate scandal.

Below are key dates in former President Ford's life:


1931
Gerald Rudolph Ford is born Leslie Lynch King Jr., the son of Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer Gardner King, in Omaha, Neb. His parents separated two weeks after his birth and his mother took him to Grand Rapids, Mich., to live with her parents.

1930
Ford learns that he is not the biological child of Gerald Sr., a Grand Rapids businessman, though he had been called Gerald R. Ford, Jr. all his life.

1935
Ford receives a B.A. degree in economics and political science at the University of Michigan, where he played center on two national-championship football teams and was the team's most valuable player in 1934.

1941
Ford is awarded his law degree at Yale University, where he started out working as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach. Yale admitted him to its law school in the spring of 1938.

1942
Ford enlists in the U.S. Navy. He saw wartime service in the Pacific on the light aircraft carrier Monterey and was a lieutenant commander when he returned to Grand Rapids in 1946 to resume his law practice.

Oct. 15, 1948
Ford marries Elizabeth Bloomer Warren. Together, they would have four children: Michael Gerald, born March 14, 1950; John Gardner, born March 16, 1952; Steven Meigs, born May 19, 1956; and Susan Elizabeth, born July 6, 1957.

Jan. 3, 1949
Ford begins his service in the U.S. House of Representatives, a tenure that will last until Dec. 6, 1973, when he is sworn in as Richard Nixon's vice president. During his time in the House, he would be re-elected 12 times, each time with more than 60 percent of the vote.

1963
President Johnson appoints Ford to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

1964
Ford gains more national attention with his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention of Governor George Romney of Michigan for president.

1965
Ford wins the position of House minority leader, which he holds for eight years.

Dec. 6, 1973
Ford is sworn in as vice president of the United States during the presidency of Richard Nixon. The appointment of a new vice president became necessary after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, who pleaded no contest to a charge of income tax evasion.

Aug. 9, 1974
Ford is sworn into office as the 38th president of the United States following the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon.

Jan, 1977
After leaving the White House, President and Mrs. Ford move to Rancho Mirage, Calif., where they build a new house.

Oct. 27, 1999
Gerald and Betty Ford are awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. The preceding August, Ford received the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, for guiding the nation through the turbulent times of Watergate, the resignation of President Nixon and the end of the Vietnam War.
  • Melissa McNamara

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