Gerald Rudolff Ford

Gerald Rudolff Ford

Born Dec 9, 1890

Gerald Rudolff Ford was a Grand Rapids businessman and Republican politician who was the stepfather of U.S. President Gerald Ford and for whom Ford legally changed his name. Ford was born and died in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he raised the future President. The senior Ford's father George Ford died in a train accident in 1903 forcing him to drop out of school to support the family.… Read More

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1890 Birth Born on December 9, 1890.


1903 12 Years Old The senior Ford's father George Ford died in a train accident in 1903 forcing him to drop out of school to support the family. He was working as a paint salesman at the Grand Rapids Wood Finishing Company when he met the future President's mother Dorothy Ayer Gardner King. Dorothy had fled to Michigan from Omaha, Nebraska in 1913, 16 days after the President's birth, claiming that her husband (and her son's birth father), Leslie Lynch King, Sr., had physically abused her. She came to Grand Rapids to be near her parents, Levi Addison Gardner and Adele Augusta Ayer Gardner, who lived in the town. The couple married on February 1, 1917 following Dorothy's divorce from King when the future President was three and began calling Dorothy's first son "Gerald." … Read More


The elder Ford founded the Ford Paint and Varnish Company in 1929 just before the Great Depression. … Read More


1935 44 Years Old The elder Ford never legally adopted the President. The President changed his name in 1935 after the deaths of his paternal King family grandparents to an Americanized version of his stepfather's name Gerald Rudolph Ford.


1944 53 Years Old The elder Ford was active on various functions including the formation of the Youth Commonwealth to help disadvantaged youth. He was director of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Kent County, Michigan Republican Committee from 1944 until 1948 when he stepped down after the future President began his first run for Congress. … Read More


1962 71 Years Old Died on January 26, 1962.
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