Gerald R. Ford
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Timeline of President Ford's Life and Career

Below is a chronology of significant events in the life and career of President Gerald R. Ford. Some entries also feature links to sample documents or photographs from the Ford Library's holdings relevant to the events. If you are interested in learning more about the Library's holdings on a specific topic listed in the timeline, please contact the Library's reference staff.

Early Life
Law Career
Vice President

Early Life

July 14, 1913
Gerald R. Ford is born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska to Leslie and Dorothy King.

July 30, 1913
Fleeing an abusive relationship, Dorothy Gardner King and her two-week old son leave Omaha and with her parents relocate to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

December 19, 1913
Dorothy King’s divorce from Leslie King is finalized in an Omaha court.

February 1, 1917
Dorothy King marries Gerald R. Ford, Sr., a Grand Rapids businessman and, although not formally adopted, Leslie Lynch King, Jr. is renamed Gerald R. Ford, Jr.

Young Ford attends elementary school at Madison Elementary in Grand Rapids, MI. He briefly attends East Grand Rapids Elementary while the family lives there.

On his twelfth birthday, Ford joins the local Boy Scout Troop 15 of Trinity Methodist Church in Grand Rapids and two years later attains the rank of Eagle Scout.

Ford attends South High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he excels at football, being named to the “All-City” and “All-State” teams. He also works at his father’s paint and varnish factory and a local hamburger stand.

Ford attends the University of Michigan and graduates with a B.A. in Economics. He joins the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and is a member of Michigamua, an esteeemed senior honor society. Ford also plays center on the football team, earns three varsity letters, is named Most Valuable Player on the 1934 team, and plays in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game. Ford receives professional football contract offers from the Green Bay Packers and the DEtroit Lions, which he declines.

September 1935
Yale University hires Ford to be an assistant football and boxing coach.

December 3, 1935
He legally changes his name to Gerald R. Ford, Jr.

Summer 1936
Ford works as an Intern Forest Ranger at Yellowstone Park’s Canyon Station.

Law Career

Summer 1937
Ford attends law classes at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

February 1938
Ford is accepted to Yale University Law School. He begins classes in the fall while continuing to coach. While at Yale, Ford supports the isolationist America First Committee as America sees war spread across Europe.

Summer 1938
Ford attends law classes at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

March 12, 1940
Ford appears in a photograph spread in Look Magazine with then girlfriend Phyllis Brown, a model for Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Fall 1940
Ford volunteers for the Wendell Willkie presidential campaign in New York City. As a volunteer, he attends his first Republican convention in Philadelphia.

Spring 1941
Ford graduates in the top third of his law school class at Yale.

May 1941
Ford returns to Grand Rapids and partners with friend Philip Buchen to open a law firm located in Suite 621 of the Michigan Trust Building. He also becomes active in local politics helping launch a reform group opposed to the Republican political machine of Frank D. McKay

February 1942-May 1942
With the U.S. entrance into World War II, Ford volunteers for the Navy. He is assigned to the Navy’s V-5 pre-flight program in Annapolis, Maryland to become a physical training instructor. Upon completion, he is sent to Chapel Hill, North Carolina as an athletic training officer.

Summer 1943- Spring 1945
Ford is assigned to sea duty aboard the carrier USS Monterey as the ship’s athletic officer and one of the ship’s gunnery officers. He sees action in the Pacific Theater aboard the USS Monterey in the Battle of Makin. The ship also takes part in attacks against Kwajalein and Eniwetok, New Guinea, Saipan, Guam, and Formosa. He also survives a typhoon in the Pacific that batters the Monterey on December 18, 1944. After the Monterey was declared unfit for service, he was assigned to the Athletic Department at the Navy Pre-flight School at St. Mary's College in California.

Spring 1945
Ford is promoted to Lieutenant Commander and assigned to Glenview, Illinois, to train new naval officers for sea duty.

February 1946
Ford is honorably discharged from active duty in the United States Navy. During his service he is awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with one silver star and four bronze stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Ford returns to Grand Rapids and rejoins his friend Philip Buchen with the law firm of Butterfield, Keeney, and Amberg. He becomes active in many civic affairs and charities including chapters of the Red Cross, the American Legion, and the VFW. Influenced by his experience in the war and the internationalist views of Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Ford resumes his involvement in reforming Grand Rapids politics.

August 1947
Ford is introduced to Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer Warren by mutual friends.


June 14, 1948
Ford announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. House of Representatives, Fifth Congressional District of Michigan. He challenges the isolationist foreign policy approach of incumbent Bartel Jonkman, a McKay associate.

September 14, 1948
Ford defeats Jonkman 23,632 to 14,341 in the Republican primary.

October 15, 1948
Ford and Betty Bloomer Warren wed at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids. Marrying in the middle of his congressional campaign, the couple honeymoon briefly in Ann Arbor, attend the University of Michigan-Northwestern football game, and then drive to Owosso, Michigan to attend a rally for Republican Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey.

November 2, 1948
Ford is elected to his first term as a U.S. Congressman from Grand Rapids, receiving 60.5% of the vote.

January 3, 1949-1950
Ford is sworn in as a member of the Eighty-First Congress. During his first year in the House, he is assigned to the Public Works Committee. As a member he is invited to tour the White House by President Harry S. Truman. He also helps organize the “Chowder and Marching Club” of young Republican Congressmen with fellow House member Richard Nixon.

March 14, 1950
The Fords’ first child, Michael Gerald Ford is born.

November 7, 1950
Ford wins his second term as Congressman from the fifth district with 66% of the vote.

January 1951-1952
At the start of his second term in the House, Ford is appointed to the Appropriations Committee. Ford invites Richard Nixon to Grand Rapids to give the annual Lincoln Day Speech. In February 1952 he and other young Republican Congressmen send a letter urging General Dwight D. Eisenhower to enter the Presidential race.

March 16, 1952
The Fords’ second son, John Gardner “Jack” Ford is born.

November 4, 1952
Ford wins his third term as Congressman from Grand Rapids with 66% of the vote.

Ford is a member of the only Republican controlled House between 1949 and 1995. He is appointed to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Spending, and is made Chairman of the Army Panel. As a member of this committee he witnesses test firings of project NIKE that developed the first operational anti-aircraft missile, the Nike-Ajax.

August 1953
Ford takes a three week tour of U.S. military installations in Asia and the Pacific. He visits Saigon in French Indochina, and during a visit to Korea, witnesses a POW exchange.

November 4, 1954
After declining a run for U.S. Senate, Ford wins his fourth term as Congressman.

Ford continues to serve on the Appropriations Committee in the House, and in 1956 is appointed to the Intelligence Subcommittee, which oversees the CIA’s budget. He serves on this subcommittee for ten years and learns of programs such as U-2 and Bay of Pigs. He also visits NATO headquarters in Paris, and the Allied and Russian Zones of Berlin. He visits a Hungarian refugee camp in Austria.

Spring 1955
The Fords move into their newly completed house in Alexandria, Virginia.

May 19, 1956
The Fords’ third son, Steven Meigs Ford is born.

November 6, 1956
After declining an opportunity to run for Michigan Governor, Ford wins election to his fifth term as Congressman.

During his fifth term, Ford is appointed to the “Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration,” chaired by Senator Lyndon Johnson, which would recommend the creation of NASA. He also attends an address of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem to a joint session of Congress in May 1957.

July 6, 1957
The Fords’ youngest child, daughter Susan Elizabeth Ford is born.

November 4, 1958
Ford wins his sixth term as U.S. Congressman.

In January, Ford joins the Republican colleagues in replacing their House leader Joseph Martin with Charles Halleck. In September 1959 Ford spends 3 days touring Moscow and 10 days in Poland on fact-finding missions.

July 1960
The Michigan delegation at the Republican Convention in Chicago supports Ford as a favorite son candidate to become Richard Nixon’s running mate. Ford gives the nominating speech for the eventual Vice Presidential nominee, Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.

November 1960
Ford is elected to a seventh term in Congress.

Ford becomes the ranking Republican on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. However, he supports many of President Kennedy’s foreign aid initiatives. He is also awarded the Congressional Distinguished Service Award from the American Political Science Association.

January 26, 1962
Ford’s stepfather, Gerald Ford, Sr., dies in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

November 6, 1962
Ford is re-elected to his eighth term, despite declining Republican numbers in the House.

January 2, 1963
In a Republican caucus revolution led by Congressmen Charles Goodell and Robert Griffin, Ford defeats Charles Hoeven of Iowa for House Republican Conference Chairman.

November 29, 1963
A week after President Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson appoints Ford to the seven member Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s death. On September 27, 1964 they would publish their conclusion that there was no evidence of a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy. Ford would later publish a book about the assassination, Portrait of an Assassin, with friend John R. "Jack" Stiles.

November 3, 1964
Lyndon Johnson is elected President in a landslide over Barry Goldwater. Ford is elected to his ninth term as Congressman.

December 19, 1964
After meeting with fellow Republican House members Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Griffin, and Charles Goodell, Ford announces that he will challenge the incumbent, Charles Halleck of Indiana, for the post of House Minority Leader.

January 4, 1965
Ford unseats Halleck as House Minority Leader by a vote of 73-67.

In his first term as House Minority Leader, Ford offers Republican alternatives to the Great Society legislation of the Johnson administration. He appears with Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois in weekly press conferences (known as the “Ev and Jerry Show”) to offer critiques of Johnson administration policies. He also campaigns on behalf of Republican candidates during the 1966 midterm elections.

November 8, 1966
Ford wins his tenth election as Congressman with 68 percent of the vote. Republicans make strong gains in the mid term elections.

Ford in his second term as House Minority Leader begins attacking Johnson’s position on the war in Vietnam asking in an August 8, 1967 speech, “Why are we pulling our best punches in Vietnam?”

September 17, 1967
Ford’s mother, Dorothy Gardner Ford, dies in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

August 5, 1968
Ford presides as Permanent Chairman of the Republican Convention held in Miami Beach, Florida. Following Richard Nixon’s nomination, Ford supports New York City Mayor John Lindsay for running mate in conversations with Nixon. Nixon, however, chooses Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew.

November 5, 1968
Nixon is elected President; Ford is elected to his eleventh term as House member.

As House Minority Leader under a Republican President, Ford consistently supports Nixon’s polices in the House.

April 15, 1970
In a speech on the House floor, Ford calls for the removal of Justice William O. Douglas from the Supreme Court for what Ford believes to be inappropriate judicial conduct. The matter is later turned over to the House Judiciary Committee where the issue dies.

November 3, 1970
Ford is elected to his twelfth term.

June 17, 1972
Five burglars break into Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.

June 23-July 7, 1972
Building upon President Nixon’s trip to the People’s Republic of China in February 1972, Ford and Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana visit and meet with Premier Chou En-Lai (Zhou Enlai).

August 19-22, 1972
Ford chairs the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, where President Nixon and Vice President Agnew are re-nominated.

November 7, 1972
Ford is elected to his thirteenth and final term as a Congressman from Michigan. Despite Nixon’s landslide victory, the Republicans do not gain many House seats. Realizing he may never achieve his goal to become Speaker of the House, Ford contemplates retirement after 1976.

October 10, 1973
Spiro Agnew, under investigation for accepting bribes and income tax evasion while Governor of Maryland, resigns as Vice President of the United States.

Vice President

October 12, 1973
Ford is nominated to be Vice President by Richard Nixon. He is the first Vice President nominated under the 25th amendment to the Constitution.

November 1, 1973
The Senate begins hearings on Ford’s nomination as Vice President.

November 15, 1973
The House Judiciary Committee begins its hearings on Ford’s nomination as Vice President.

November 27, 1973
The Senate approves Ford’s nomination by a vote of 92-3.

December 6, 1973
The House approves Ford’s nomination by a vote of 387-35. Ford takes the oath as the fortieth Vice President of the United States in front of a joint session of Congress.

January-July, 1974
With Nixon embroiled in the growing Watergate scandal, Vice President Ford travels the country speaking on behalf of the administration’s policies. Ford remains an advocate and spokesman for the Republican Party, attending fundraisers and campaign events for Republican candidates.

April 30, 1974
Nixon releases edited versions of the Watergate tapes containing White House conversations.

May 9, 1974
The House Judiciary Committee begins impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.

July 24, 1974
The Supreme Court orders Nixon to turn over the unedited versions of the White House tapes.

July 27-30, 1974
The House Judiciary Committee approves three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon.

August 1, 1974
Nixon’s Chief of Staff, Al Haig, advises Ford that he should prepare for a transition to the Presidency.

August 6, 1974
Ford attends a cabinet meeting and tells Nixon that while he will continue to support Nixon’s policies, he can longer speak on the issue of Watergate to the media and the public.

August 8, 1974
Nixon announces his decision to resign in a televised address.


August 9, 1974
Ford is sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. In his swearing-in remarks, Ford announces “Our long, national nightmare is over.” Following the ceremony, President Ford goes immediately to work, meeting with Congressional leaders, senior White House staff, transition advisers, senior economic advisers, and foreign emissaries.

August 12, 1974
Ford addresses a Joint Session of Congress. He states, “I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage.” He also states his first priority is to bring inflation under control, declaring it “public enemy number one.”

August 19, 1974
Ford delivers a major speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Chicago, supporting earned clemency for Vietnam War draft evaders.

August 20, 1974
Ford nominates Nelson Rockefeller, former Governor of New York, to be Vice President.

August 28, 1974
Ford holds his first press conference as President. Many of the questions concern unresolved issues surrounding Watergate.

September 8, 1974
Ford pardons Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as President. The surprise announcement stuns the country and Ford's approval rating plummets in the polls.

September 26-28, 1974
Betty Ford is diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoes surgery.

September 27-28, 1974
The White House convenes a “summit conference” on inflation and the economy.

October 8, 1974
Ford announces his Whip Inflation Now program to a joint session of Congress.

October 15, 1974
Ford signs the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, which seek to regulate campaign fundraising and spending.

October 17, 1974
Ford appears before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice to explain the facts and circumstances that were the basis for his pardon of former President Richard Nixon.

October 17, 1974
Ford vetoes the Freedom of Information Act Amendments believing not enough protection is given to sensitive and classified intelligence documents. Congress overrides Ford’s veto on November 21, 1974 making the bill law.

November 1, 1974
Ford meets with an ailing Richard Nixon in a Long Beach, California hospital.

November 5, 1974
Republicans lose 40 seats in the House and 4 in the Senate, widening the Democratic majority in Congress during the mid-term elections.

November 17, 1974
Ford departs for a visit to Japan -- the first visit to that country by an American President -- and to South Korea and the Soviet Union.

November 23, 1974
Ford and Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R., meet in Vladivostok, U.S.S.R.

December 19, 1974
Following Congressional approval, Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as the forty-first Vice President of the United States.

January 1, 1975
Ford signs the Privacy Act of 1974.

January 4, 1975
Ford names a Blue Ribbon panel, chaired by Vice President Rockefeller, to review CIA activities within the United States in response to allegations made in a December New York Times article by Seymour Hersh.

January 13, 1975
Ford delivers a “fireside chat” to the nation, outlining his proposals to fight inflation, the economic recession, and energy dependence.

January 15, 1975
In his first State of the Union Address, Ford announces bluntly that “the state of the Union is not good. Millions of Americans are out of work. Recession and inflation are eroding the money of millions more. Prices are too high, and sales are too slow.” To remedy these problems, Ford proposes tax cuts for American families and businesses, and strongly advocates for the reduction of government spending.

February 7, 1975
Ed Levi is sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States replacing William Saxbe, whom Ford appoints as U.S. ambassador to India.

April 10, 1975
As North Vietnamese Army Divisions approach Saigon; Ford addresses a joint session of Congress to request, unsuccessfully, financial assistance for South Vietnam and Cambodia. During the speech two freshman Democrats, Toby Moffett of Connecticut and George Miller of California walk out in protest.

April 12, 1975
Ford evacuates the U.S. mission in Cambodia as the communist Khmer Rouge advance on the capital Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge take over the country on April 17, 1975.

April 23, 1975
In a speech at Tulane University, President Ford declares that the Vietnam War “is finished as far as America is concerned.”

April 28, 1975
Ford orders the emergency evacuation of American personnel and high-risk South Vietnamese nationals, as Saigon falls to Communist forces.

May 12-15, 1975
When Communist Cambodia seizes the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez in international waters, Ford orders Marines to rescue the ship’s crew. The civilians are safely recovered and a long hostage crisis averted, but many Marines die. The action signals U.S. resolve despite defeat in Vietnam.

May 28, 1975
Ford departs on trip to Europe for a NATO summit meeting, to visit Spain and Italy, and to meet in Austria with President Sadat of Egypt.

July 8, 1975
Ford formally announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.

July 26, 1975
Ford departs on a trip to Europe for visits to West Germany, Poland, Finland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. In Helsinki, Ford joins leaders of 34 nations in signing the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Act’s human rights provisions greatly help East Europeans seeking an end to their communist regimes.

September 1, 1975
Ford announces a joint Egyptian-Israeli agreement on troop disengagement in the Sinai Peninsula. The agreement is the culmination of 34 days of shuttle diplomacy by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

September 5, 1975
Charles Manson follower, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempts to assassinate President Ford in Sacramento, California.

September 22, 1975
Sara Jane Moore, a woman with ties to leftwing radical groups, attempts to assassinate President Ford in San Francisco, California.

October 2-3, 1975
Ford hosts Japanese Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako for a state visit. This is the first state visit for an Emperor and Empress of Japan to the United States.

October 29, 1975
Ford urges financial restraint and a financial review for New York City during its budget crisis. Ford refuses to support Federal help for New York at this time. He proposes bankruptcy legislation to ensure the City undergoes an orderly default process. On November 26, 1975, after he believes city leaders have begun to adequately address the crisis, Ford authorizes Congress to extend the City a line of credit.

November 4, 1975
In what the press dubs the “Halloween Massacre,” President Ford orders a reorganization of his cabinet. He names Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, Elliot Richardson as Commerce Secretary, George Bush as CIA Director, and Richard Cheney as White House Chief of Staff. Henry Kissinger remains Secretary of State; however, he turns over his duties as National Security Advisor to Brent Scowcroft. Under pressure from Republican Party Conservatives, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller withdraws his name from consideration as Ford’s 1976 running mate.

November 15-17, 1975
Ford attends an economic summit at Rambouillet, France with President Valery Giscard d'Estaing of France, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of West Germany, Prime Minister Aldo Moro of Italy, Prime Minister Takeo Miki of Japan, and Prime Minister Harold Wilson of the United Kingdom.

November 20, 1975
Former California Governor Ronald Reagan announces that he will challenge Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.

November 28, 1975
Ford nominates Judge John Paul Stevens of the Seventh Circuit of the Court of Appeals in Chicago to the United States Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice William O. Douglas. The Senate unanimously approves Stevens by a 98-0 vote. He is sworn in on December 19, 1975.

November 29, 1975
Ford departs for visits to People's Republic of China, the Philippines, and Indonesia. In China, Ford meets with Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping and Chariman Mao Zedong to build momentum toward normalization of relations.

December 19, 1975
Ford opposes the Tunney Amendments of the Defense Appropriations Bill but the Senate passes them. The amendments prohibit funding for US activities aimed at defeating the Soviet and Cuban backed MPLA factions in the Angolan Civil War.

January 2, 1976
Ford vetoes the Common Situs Picketing Bill.

February 18, 1976
In an effort to reform the U.S. intelligence community, Ford signs Executive Order 11905 to “establish policies to improve the quality of intelligence needed for national security, to clarify the authority and responsibilities of the intelligence departments and agencies, and to establish effective oversight to assure compliance with law in the management and direction of intelligence agencies and departments of the national government.” This executive order also prohibits the United States from engaging in political assassination.

February 26, 1976
Ford edges Reagan by 1,250 votes in New Hampshire primary, taking 17 of 21 delegates. This begins a string of primary victories for Ford which include Florida and Illinois before a series of losses to challenger Reagan in North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and Indiana.

March 25, 1976
Ford sends a message to Congress requesting a special appropriation for the National Swine Flu Immunization Program. He signs the measure into law on August 12, 1976.

May 15, 1976
Ford becomes the first President since Harry Truman to campaign by train as he crosses southern Michigan prior to the primary there.

June 20, 1976
Ford orders the evacuation of the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon following the assassination of embassy officials on June 16.

July 4, 1976
America’s Bicentennial of independence. The year is marked by numerous head of state visits and state gifts to the United States. On July 4, President Ford attends events at Valley Forge, PA; Operation Sail in New York City; and in Philadelphia, PA.

July 7, 1976
President and Mrs. Ford welcome Queen Elizabeth II to the White House for a state dinner as part of the Bicentennial celebration.

August 18, 1976
When North Korean soldiers axe-murder two U.S. soldiers on a tree-pruning mission in the Demilitarized Zone, Ford weighs strong military action but decides on other measures.

August 19, 1976
Ford is nominated at the Republican Convention edging out former California Governor Ronald Reagan. Ford names Senator Robert Dole of Kansas as his running mate. Public opinion polls following the convention have Ford trailing the Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter by wide margins. The Gallup poll favors Carter 56% to 33% and the Harris poll favors Carter 61% to 32%.

September 13, 1976
Ford signs the Government in the Sunshine Act requiring that many government regulatory agencies must give advance notice of meetings and hold open meetings. The new law also amends the Freedom of Information Act “by narrowing the authority of agencies to withhold information from the public.”

September 15, 1976
Ford kicks off his general election campaign at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

September 23, 1976
First presidential candidate debate between President Ford and Governor Jimmy Carter in Philadelphia. This is the first presidential candidate debate since the Nixon-Kennedy debates in 1960.

October 6, 1976
Second presidential candidate debate, on foreign policy and defense issues, in San Francisco. During the debate Ford comments that, “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.” This misstatement is fodder for the press and public for the next several days.

October 22, 1976
Third and final presidential candidate debate in Williamsburg, Virginia.

November 1-2, 1976
President Ford attends his final campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Pantlind Hotel. He casts his vote on November 2 and attends the unveiling of the Gerald R. Ford mural by artist Paul Collins at the Kent County Airport before returning to Washington.

November 3, 1976
Ford concedes the Presidential election to Jimmy Carter of Georgia. Ford loses the Electoral College 297-240 and receives 39,147,793 votes (48% of the votes cast) to Carter’s 40,830,763 (50.1% of the votes cast).

December 14, 1976
Ford sends a letter to the Archivist of the United States and the President of the University of Michigan offering to deposit his papers in a Presidential Library to be built on the University of Michigan campus.

January 12, 1977
In his final State of the Union Address, Ford tells Congress and the American People, “I can report that the state of the union is good. There is room for improvement, as always, but today we have a more perfect Union than when my stewardship began.”

January 20, 1977
Carter is sworn in as the 39th President of the United States. In his inaugural address, Carter states, “For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.” Ford retires to Palm Springs, California and Vail, Colorado. During his retirement, Ford serves on various corporate boards, participates in many charitable causes, remains involved in many national and international causes and issues, participates in many Republican Party functions, and is called to service several times by later Presidents.


March 9, 1977
President and Mrs. Ford sign contracts to publish their memoirs.

March 24, 1977
Ford returns to the White House for the first time since he left office and meets with President Carter in the Oval Office. They meet for an hour and a half discussing a range of national and international issues.

June 6, 1979
Ford’s memoir, A Time to Heal, is published.

Fall 1979
Ford considers another run for the Presidency in the 1980 election.

March 16, 1980
Ford officially takes himself out of consideration for the Republican Presidential nomination, stating “…America needs a new President. I have determined that I can best help that cause by not being a candidate for President, which might further divide my party.”

July, 1980
At the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan, representatives of Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford attempt to work out the details of having Ford on the ticket as Vice Presidential nominee, but to no avail. However, many newspapers inaccurately report that Ford has been selected for the post.

November 1, 1980
Ford appears on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss the Iranian hostage situation and stump for candidate Reagan.

April 27, 1981
Ford dedicates his Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

September 18, 1981
Ford dedicates his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

October 10, 1981
At the request of President Reagan, Ford joins former Presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter as part of the official American delegation attending the funeral of assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

October 3, 1982
The Betty Ford Center is dedicated.

November 10, 1982
Ford hosts a conference on the Presidency and the War Powers Act at the Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

December 1983
Ford makes a cameo appearance with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the ABC show Dynasty.

November 15, 1984
Ford joins President Carter for a symposium at the University of Michigan on “New Weapons Technologies and Soviet-American Relations.”

April 25, 1985
About thirty scholars join President Ford for a conference at the Ford Library in Ann Arbor to discuss the state of the presidential primary system. The proceedings of the conference were later published in a volume edited by George Grassmuck entitled Before Nomination: Our Primary Problems.

September 17-19, 1986
Ford hosts the symposium “Humor and the Presidency” at the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

January-February, 1987
To mark the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, Ford participates in conferences with former President Carter at both the Carter and Ford Libraries entitled, “The Presidency and the Constitution.”

October 1, 1987
Ford publishes Humor and the Presidency drawn from the September 1986 conference at the Ford Presidential Museum.

November 18, 1988
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford meet with President-Elect George H.W. Bush to present the recommendations of the American Agenda Group, an organization of experts and former administration officials who studied the most critical issues confronting the United States.

April 6-8, 1989
Ford and many members of his administration participate in a conference at Hofstra University that examines the Ford presidency.

October 8, 1994
The University of Michigan retires President Ford’s football jersey number 48 at halftime of the Michigan State game. It is only the fifth football number to be retired by the university.

August 12, 1996
Ford speaks at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California on behalf of his former running mate and Republican presidential nominee, Robert Dole.

December 21, 1998
Following the House of Representatives’ impeachment of President Clinton, Ford co-authors a New York Times Op-Ed piece with former President Carter. They argue for a bipartisan resolution of censure as an alternative to an impeachment trial.

August 8, 1999
Ford writes an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times defending the University of Michigan’s system of admission standards that uses affirmative action.

August 11, 1999
President Ford is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Clinton.

October 27, 1999
President Ford receives the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award bestowed by the Legislative branch.

April 7, 2000
In conjunction with the opening of nearly 40,000 pages from the Ford Library’s holdings on the Vietnam War, Ford hosts the conference “After the Fall: Vietnam Plus Twenty-Five,” at the University of Michigan.

May 11, 2000
Ford attends the ceremony that renames the Kent County International Airport after him.

September 12, 2000
Ford is present as The University of Michigan’s School of Public Policy is renamed for him.

January 30, 2001
Following the closely contested 2000 Presidential election, Former Presidents Ford and Carter are named as honorary Co-Chairmen of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform.

May 21, 2001
The John F. Kennedy Foundation presents Ford with the Profiles in Courage Award for putting the nation’s interest above his own political future with the pardon of Richard Nixon.

June 5, 2001
President Ford opens public hearings of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform at the Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Commission, which was co-chaired by Former Presidents Ford and Carter, presents its findings to the White House on July 31, 2001.

September 14, 2001
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, President and Mrs. Ford attend the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

October 2003
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) establishes the “NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award.” The award honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics on a continuous basis over the course of their career. The first recipient of the award was Father Theodore Hesburgh, former President of Notre Dame.

September 20, 2004
The State Bar of Michigan honors Ford, recognizing him as the state’s twenty-ninth legal milestone.

November 12, 2004
Ford attends the groundbreaking for the new Joan and Sanford Weill building that will house the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

November 26, 2005
An article Ford writes, reflecting on passing of journalist Hugh Sidey, appears in the Washington Post.

March 2006
The NCAA names Ford as the fourteenth most-influential student-athlete of the last 100 years.

June 19, 2006
The National Archives hosts a tribute to President Ford, entitled “President Ford’s Washington and the World.” The tribute featured presentations by former Ford administration officials including: Henry Kissinger, David Gergen, James Cannon, and Carla Hills.

December 26, 2006
President Ford dies at his California home. He is 93 years old. The nation enters a period of mourning, and funeral services are held in Palm Desert, California; Washington, D.C.; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

December 30, 2006
At the conclusion of funeral services at St. Margaret's Church in Palm Desert, California, President Ford's body is flown to Washington, D.C. to lie in state at the U.S. Capital Rotunda and for services at the National Cathedral. Before arriving at the Capital, the funeral procession drives to Alexandria, Virginia and the Ford's former home there. The procession also pauses for a ceremony at the World War II Veteran's Memorial in Washington, D.C.

January 2, 2007
Funeral services are held for President Ford at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Eulogies are given by President George W. Bush, Former President George H.W. Bush, Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Journalist Tom Brokaw. Following the service, President Ford's body is flown back to Grand Rapids to lie in repose and for services.

January 3, 2007
Funeral services are held for President Ford at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the service, eulogies are given by Former President Jimmy Carter, Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Historian Richard Norton Smith. Following the service, President Ford is interred on the grounds of his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Biography of President Ford

Tributes and Honors

Gerald R. Ford Quotes

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Last Updated:January 11, 2007