Early Years


Ford’s life began in tumult. Although of a charmed and stable upbringing throughout the majority of his youth, his life began under dramatic circumstances; his mother whisked him away from her abusive husband just days after he was born.


Dorothy King settled in Oak Park, Illinois, living with her sister, before moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan into the home of her parents. There she would meet Gerald R. Ford, and together they would raise Dorothy's child and three more of their own. Junior, as the future president came to be known by family and friends, was put on a path that would lead to the highest political office in the land.


Dorothy Gardner King carrying her newborn son, Leslie Lynch King, Jr. (Gerald R. Ford Jr.) on his baptism day, 1913.