- Category : Political
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (17,43)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Maya 2
American politician, a lawyer, congressman and Vice-President under Richard Nixon in 1969 and the 38th President of the United States. He was the first president in history to succeed to the nation's highest office due to the resignation of a president. He was sworn in on 9 August 1974 at 12:03:35 EDT, Washington, DC, just minutes after Nixon resigned at noon.
Born under the name Leslie Lynch King, he was renamed Gerald Ford, Jr. when his mom's second husband, Gerald Rudolf Ford, adopted him at age two. Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, graduating from the University of Michigan a champion football player in 1935. Employed as assistant varsity football coach at Yale while attending the Law School, 1935-1941, Ford was admitted to the Michigan bar on 7 June 1941. World War II intervened, and he joined the Navy, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After his military service ended in 1946, he practiced law in Grand Rapids until his election to Congress in 1948.
From 3 January 1949 to 6 December 1973 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-authored, with John R. Stiles, "Portrait of the Assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald" in 1965. That year he became House Minority Leader. He was confirmed as Vice President after nomination by Richard Nixon under the provision of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew in October 1973.
The highlights of Ford's administration in 1975 were: the beginning of construction on the Alaskan oil pipeline on March 9th; the breakdown of Arab-Israeli negotiations led by Henry Kissinger on March 23rd; airlift of Vietnamese children to adoptive parents in the U.S. on April 3rd; the surrender of Cambodia on 16 April; the official end of American involvement in Vietnam at the end of April; and the capture and military rescue of the crew of the merchant vessel SS Mayaguez by the Cambodians on 17 May. Later that same year, Ford’s participation in the Helsinki Accords was controversial but may have hastened the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the end of the Cold War. In September 1975 he escaped two assassination attempts, the first by Lynnette “Squeaky” Fromme on 5 September and the second 17 days later by Sara Jane Moore.
Ford's modesty and candor endeared him to the American public but he was nevertheless defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1976. His loss was attributed in large part to his unpopular pardon of Richard Nixon. Planning to run in 1980, he soon withdrew from the race when public support was shown lacking.
Ford married Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer Warren on 15 October 1948. They had three sons and one daughter. On 15 March 1980, he retired from politics to an active life of lecturing, handling investments, and consulting for more than a dozen major corporations. "I never thought I would be President. My goal was to be Speaker of the House, but I had the opportunity to serve as President, and I did my best. I believe I made a difference."
Ford remained in good health until his late 80s. While in a Philadelphia hospital recovering from a mild stroke, Ford had surgery on 5 August 2000 to drain an abscess in his mouth. Ford spent most of 2006 in and out of hospitals. In January, the former President was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. On 15 August, he entered the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to undergo tests for an unspecified complaint. A pacemaker was subsequently inserted to regulate his heartbeat, and he underwent an angioplasty. In mid-October he was again re-admitted to the hospital for a week. President Ford died at his Rancho Mirage, California home on 26 December 2006 at 6:45 PM PST (time from an AP report). He was 93.