Gerald R. Ford
n Vice President — Nelson A. Rockefeller, Republican
n Born July 14, 1913 in Omaha Nebraska
n Died Dec. 26, 2006 in Rancho Mirage, CA
n Buried: Gerald R. Ford presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, MI
n He married Elizabeth Bloomer Ford and they had four children.
n Attended University of Michigan, Yale University Law School; was in the military, a lawyer, and House Minority Leader.
n He is this nation’s most unique president in that he never came to office by the electoral process. Richard M. Nixon tapped Ford, House minority leader, to be his vice president after the resignation of vice president Spiro Agnew, who was under fire for tax evasion.
n A graduate of the Yale Law School, joined the Navy in 1942 and served for four years during the Second WW, coming out in 1946 as a lieutenant commander. He spent 25 years in the House, eight of those as Republican leader. He served on the Warren Commission that investigated the death of President Kennedy.
n President Nixon picked Ford as his vice president in 1973, and he was sworn into office on Dec. 6, 1973, after the Senate and House approved his nomination under the provision of a recently-passed constitutional amendment. Ford became president Aug. 9, 1974, when President Nixon resigned in the face of mounting political pressure resulting from the Watergate investigation.
n Ford had consistently supported Nixon’s policies while in Congress. Shortly after Nixon’s resignation, Ford pardoned him, saying it was time to heal the nation.
n The new president brought a feeling of openness to the White House. Ford, who had a reputation for honesty and candor, became acceptable to writers and photographers alike. He was even photographed while taking a swim.
n Ford’s popularity grew during his first years in office as he directed a dramatic rescue of the merchant vessel Mayaguez and its 39 crew members and the dramatic Apollo Soyuz “handshake in space.”
n In 1980, Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter, who campaigned on the need for change.