President's Day 2005 E-mail
In honor of President's Day, we honor President Gerald R Ford, 38th President and graduate of East Grand Rapids High School.

Gerald Rudolph Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., the son of Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer Gardner King, on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, NE. His parents separated two weeks after his birth and his mother brought him to Grand Rapids to live with her parents.

About two years after her divorce was final, Dorothy King married Gerald R. Ford, a Grand Rapids paint salesman. The Fords began calling her son Gerald R. Ford, Jr., although his name was not legally changed until December 3, 1935.

Ford attended South High School in Grand Rapids, where he excelled scholastically and athletically, being named to the honor society and the "All-City" and "All-State" football teams. He was also active in scouting, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in November 1927.

From 1931 to 1935 Ford attended The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he majored in economics and political science. A gifted athlete, he played on the University's national championship football teams in 1932 and 1933. He was voted the Wolverine's most valuable player in 1934. He received offers from two professional football teams – the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers – but chose instead to take a position as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale hoping to attend law school there. After passing his bar exam, Ford set up a law partnership in Grand Rapids.

Gerald Ford served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1973, being reelected 12 times, each time with more than 60 percent of the vote. On August 9, 1974, he took the oath of office as the 38th President of the United States.

In 1981, the Gerald R. Ford Museum in downtown Grand Rapids and the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, on the campus of the University of Michigan, were dedicated.

Click here for more information about the Ford Museum.
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