President Gerald Rudolph Ford

Compiled by D. A. Sharpe


Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, is the 17th cousin, four times removed, to President James Monroe.  President Monroe is my 31st cousin, twice removed.  The ancestors in common with President Monroe and me are Eystein Glumra Ivarsson and Aseda Rognvaldsdatter, ninth century Vikings of Norway.  They are President Monroe's 30th great grandparents, and my 32nd great grandparents. President Monroe is the 18th cousin, seven times removed to my son-in-law, Steven O. Westmoreland.


Tracing through another line of President Ford's, taking some maternal connections, his most distant ancestor is his 20th great grandfather, Edmund Fitz Alan.


Gerald Rudolph Ford is the 2nd cousin -19x removed of wife of 8th great grand uncle of husband of Mary Lee X, the stepdaughter of Danette Abney (born about 1712) who is my 6th great grand uncle.


The ancestors in common with Ford and Monroe are Earl Edmund Fitz Alan (1285-1326) and Alice de Warenne (1277-1338), who married in 1305.  They were Ford's 20th great grandparents.  They were Monroe's 16th great grandparents.  Gerald Ford was the only United States President born in Nebraska, the only President whose parents were divorced, and the only President who was adopted and had a change of name.   


Here are nine things you may not know about Ford.


Gerald Ford is the only President who earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America youth organization.


The Christian faith followed by Gerald Ford was in the Episcopal Church.  


Gerald Ford worked as a fashion model during his college years.  He was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine. 


On September 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore failed in her attempt to shoot President Gerald R. Ford outside a San Francisco hotel.


About a year or two following his leaving the White House, he was a keynote speaker in Saint Louis, Missouri political rally, attended by perhaps 1,000 or more people.  I was in the audience.  When President Ford completed his address, he departed the conference room by walking through the audience, shaking hands with many people as he went through.  He just happened to walk my way,  and it was my pleasure to get to shake his hand.


"President Gerald R. Ford was born on July 14, 1913 at Omaha, Nebraska and was originally given the name Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His parents, Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer Gardner, had been married on September 7, 1912 at Harvard, Illinois.  Just over two weeks after the birth of their son, Dorothy separated from her husband and took her infant son to her sister's home in Oak Park, Illinois, and then to her parentsŐ home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  


"On December 19, 1913, an Omaha court granted her a divorce.  In 1917 she married Grand Rapids businessman Gerald R. Ford and they soon began calling her son Gerald R. Ford, Jr., although his name was not legally changed until December 3 , 1935."



"Ford obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, where he was a football star. In fact, he is the only President who was offered a contract to play professional football.  Instead, he went on to obtain a law degree from Yale University before serving in the United States Navy during World War II.  Returning from the war a confirmed 'internationalist,' Republican, Ford defeated the incumbent in the party primary and was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  


"He was elected House Minority Leader in 1963, and served in the House until 1973.  When Spiro Agnew resigned, Ford was appointed Vice President of the United States at the height of the Watergate scandal.  Following the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford ascended to the presidency on August 9, 1974.


Ford was not aware of his adoption until shortly before turning fifteen. 'My stepfather was a magnificent person,' Ford stated, 'and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn't have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing.


"Ford joined the Boy Scouts and attained that program's highest rank, Eagle Scout.  He always regarded this as one of his proudest accomplishments even after attaining the White House.  In subsequent years, Ford received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo from the Boy Scouts of America. He attended school locally and was a star athlete, rising to become captain of his high school football team and attracting the attention of college recruiters.


"Attending the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, Ford became the center for the school's football team and helped the Wolverines to undefeated seasons in 1932 and 1933.  His number 48 jersey has since been retired by the school.  Ford turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League following his graduation in 1935 in order to attend law school.  As part of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford played against the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game at Soldier Field.

Ford married Elizabeth (Betty) Ann Bloomer Warren October 15, 1948 at the Grace Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  They give issue to four children:  Michael, Jack, Steven and Susan. 


"Following Ford's return from military service in World War II, Ford became active in local Republican politics. Grand Rapids supporters urged him to take on Bartel J. Jonkman, the incumbent Republican congressman.  Ford had changed his worldview as a result of his military service; 'I came back a converted internationalist.', Ford stated, 'and of course our congressman at that time was an avowed, dedicated isolationist.  And I thought he ought to be replaced. Nobody thought I could win. I ended up winning two to one.'


"During his first campaign, Ford visited farmers and promised he would work on their farms and milk the cows if elected, a promise he fulfilled.  In 1961, the U.S. House membership voted Ford a special award as a 'Congressman's Congressman' that praised his committee work on military budgets.


"Ford was a member of the House of Representatives for twenty-three years, holding the Grand Rapids congressional district seat from 1949 to 1973.  Appointed to the House Appropriations Committee two years after being elected, he was a prominent member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.  Ford described his philosophy as 'a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative in fiscal policy.'   In 1963, Republican members of the House elected him Minority Leader.  During his tenure, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission, a special task force set up to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in killing the President remains controversial.


"During the eight years (1965 - 1973) he served as Minority Leader, Ford won many friends in the House, due to his fair leadership and inoffensive personality.  But President Johnson disliked Ford for the congressman's frequent attacks on the administration's 'Great Society' programs as being unneeded or wasteful, and for his criticism of the President's handling of the Vietnam War.  As minority leader in the House, Ford appeared in a popular series of televised press conferences with famed Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen in which they proposed Republican alternatives to Johnson's policies. Many in the press jokingly called this 'The Ev and Jerry Show'.  In 1970, Ford led the effort to impeach William O. Douglas, an associate justice on the Supreme Court, for the jurist's 'moonlighting' for private clients.'




Ford worked as a fashion model to help pay for law school. He was on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine and in the pages of Look. Ford was a good student in school and an all-star football player. He played college ball and was being recruited by the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. Instead, he went to Yale Law School before joining the Navy during World War II.


One of the first things Ford did as president was grant President Nixon a full pardon. Nixon never stood trial for the Watergate scandal.  Ford is the only president in history who served both as a vice president and as president, butt was not elected president or vice president by the American people.


FordŐs Christian faith was quite, but firm when he had occasion to embrace it.  Here is an article published in Christianity Today, issue of August 30, 1974 about FordŐs Christian faith.


President Ford was age 93 at his death, making him the longest living former president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004, by just over a month. As this is written in 2017, former President Jimmy Carter is age 92. 


The statement in the New York times online report December 27, 2006 did not give a cause, place or time of death, but Mr. Ford, the 38th president, had been in and out of the hospital since January 2006 when he suffered pneumonia, most recently in October at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, for medical tests.  He returned to his home in Rancho Mirage after five days of hospitalization.  His widow gave this statement for the public:


"'My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age.' Mrs. Ford said in a statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage, also the location of the Betty Ford Center. 'His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.'


His final burial location was at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. 

Compiled by

Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712