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Gerald Ford Fast Facts


CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States.


Birth date: July 14, 1913

Death date: December 26, 2006

Birth place: Omaha, Nebraska (grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Birth name: Leslie Lynch King Jr.

Father: Leslie Lynch King Sr.

Mother: Dorothy Ayer (Gardner) King

Marriage: Betty (Bloomer) Ford (October 15, 1948-December 26, 2006, his death)

Children: Susan Elizabeth, Steven Meigs, John “Jack” Gardner and Michael Gerald

Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1935, Economics and Political Science; Yale Law School, L.L.B., 1941

Military: US Navy, 1942-1946; US Naval Reserves, 1946-1963

Religion: Episcopalian

Other Facts

He was adopted by his mother’s second husband, Gerald Ford, and his name was legally changed to Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. in 1935.

The only person to serve as both president and vice president of the United States who was never elected to either office.

First Eagle Scout to be president.

Strong supporter of Boy Scouts of America and adoption.


1935-1941 – After graduating from the University of Michigan, Ford receives offers from two professional football teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. Instead, he works at Yale University as a boxing coach and assistant football coach while completing his law degree.

November 2, 1948 – Elected to the US House of Representatives for Michigan’s Fifth Congressional District.

January 3, 1949-December 6, 1973 – Serves in the House of Representatives.

1949 – Serves on the House Committee for Public Works.

1951 – Transfers to the House Appropriations Committee, and later becomes a member of the military spending, CIA, and foreign aid subcommittees.

1963 – Chairman of the House Republican Conference.

1963-1964 – Serves on the Warren Commission to investigate President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

1965-1973 – House Minority Leader.

1968 and 1972 – Chairman of the Republican National Convention.

October 12, 1973 – Is named vice president under Richard Nixon after Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned on October 10.

October 13, 1973 – Declares, “I have no intention of being a candidate for any office – president, vice president or anything else – in 1976.”

December 6, 1973 – Is sworn in as the 40th vice president of the United States.

August 8, 1974 – Nixon submits his resignation as president to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

August 9, 1974 – Ford is sworn in as the 38th president of the United States by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, in the East Room of the White House.

August 20, 1974 – Names Nelson A. Rockefeller as his vice president.

September 8, 1974 – Grants Nixon a “full, free and absolute pardon.”

September 16, 1974 – Announces conditional amnesty for Vietnam War draft evaders and deserters.

October 17, 1974 – Testifies, not under oath, before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee about his pardon of Nixon, becoming the first sitting president to formally testify before a Congressional committee.

March 1975 – Orders an airlift of about 237,000 anti-Communist Vietnamese refugees from Da Nang; most are taken to the United States.

May 1975 – Cambodia seizes the American ship Mayaguez. Ford sends in the Navy, Marines and Air Force. The ship is retaken and the crew of 39 is rescued, although 41 American service members are killed as a result of the operation.

July 8, 1975 – Formally announces he will seek the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1976.

September 5, 1975 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, is arrested after aiming a .45-caliber pistol at Ford on the grounds of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

September 22, 1975 – In San Francisco, Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate Ford, but a bystander diverts the shot.

August 1976 – Narrowly wins the Republican nomination for president over Ronald Reagan.

November 1, 1976 – Jimmy Carter defeats Ford in the presidential election.

July 1980 – Is offered the vice presidential nomination from Reagan, but declines.

1982 – Establishes the American Enterprise Institute’s World Forum.

August 1999 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton.

October 27, 1999 – Receives the Congressional Gold Medal.

1999 – The University of Michigan renames its School of Public Policy the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

August 2, 2000 – Suffers a mild stroke and is admitted to the neurological intensive care unit of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

August 6, 2000 – Undergoes successful surgery to relieve swelling in his tongue from a rare bacterial infection.

May 22, 2001 – Receives the Profiles in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library.

January 14, 2006 – Ford is admitted to Eisenhower Medical Center and is treated for pneumonia; he is released on January 25, 2006.

July 26, 2006 – Is admitted to Vail Valley Medical Center in Colorado, for shortness of breath, and is released the same day.

August 15, 2006 – Is admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for testing and evaluation. No details are disclosed about the treatment he is receiving or his condition.

August 25, 2006 – Undergoes an angioplasty procedure.

August 28, 2006 – Is discharged from the Mayo Clinic and returns home to Rancho Mirage, California.

October 12-16, 2006 – Is admitted to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, for tests.

December 26, 2006 – Ford dies at the age of 93.

December 29, 2006-January 3, 2007 – Funeral ceremonies for Ford include a private, family ceremony in California, periods of repose outside the US House and US Senate chamber doors, a state funeral and public viewing in the Capitol Rotunda, a memorial service at the National Cathedral, and a public viewing and interment at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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