Industrious and genuine
mark two of the virtues that positioned the republican for
the vice presidency, and subsequently, the transferred presidency.
Academic scholar, athlete, lawyer, military officer, government
office holder, businessman; whatever Gerald Ford did he chose to
work hard at it.
It was his openness, party faithfulness and
years of political experience that put him in the highest office in
the nation at one of the darkest of periods in our history. While
his term as President was rather brief, he restored the much needed
belief in the presidency in the hearts of a broken nation.
He took command while the nation was in a
recession, there was an energy crisis and he was left to deal with
the fall out of the withdrawal from Vietnam.
He worked on stimulating the economy and
strengthening foreign relations, especially working toward keeping
peace in the Middle East.
Ford's funeral began on Friday in California.
His body lies in state in the U.S. Capitol over the weekend. On
Wednesday he will be interred in a hillside tomb in his home state
A chronological sketch of the life of
Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States
interspersed with Lincoln connections:
- Born July 14, 1913
- Worked hard in high school
5 percent of his high school class
- Won a full athletic scholarship to the
University of Michigan
Star football player
Declined offers from
the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions
Worked as an assistant
Graduated in top 25
percent of his law school class
Served in World War
- 1948 - Discharged as a lieutenant
- 1948 - Won House of Representatives for
Michigan's 5th District
- 1948 - Married Elizabeth “Betty” Bloomer
Warren. They had four children, Michael, John, Steven and Susan
45-years-old and 10-year republican congressman
It was 1958 when Paul Gleason, a sophomore
at Illinois State University, met with Gerald Ford for the first
time. Mr. Ford was at ISU with two other guys to speak to the ISU
Gleason and two other classmates wanted to
buy them lunch. Gleason was making 75 cents an hour at his job and
he paid for Mr. Ford’s lunch and the other two young men paid for
the other two guests. Gleason said that after he paid for Mr.
Ford's lunch, he then had just so much money left for his own lunch
Mr. Ford was a member of Congress at this
time and after that meeting Gleason and Mr. Ford continued
- 1963 Chairmanship
of the House Republican Conference
- 1965 – 1973 House minority leader.
Prevailing issues of the time; civil
rights and the Vietnam War.
time went by and Mr. Ford became Vice President there was less and
less correspondence being done between he and Gleason.
- Dec. 6, 1973 confirmed by Congress to
replace Vice President Agnew
- Aug. 9, 1974 Assumed the position as
Commander in Chief when President Nixon resigns
1975 - Signed the Helsinki Accords with the
Soviet Union and 34 other countries on the future of Europe
Collaborated with the Soviet Union and China
to keep peace in the Middle Eastern
[to top of second column]
Long ago, before 1976, Steven Ford came to
Lincoln and spoke to the Boy Scout group here and it was a big
Jack Ford spoke at the Lincoln Hotel to
campaign for his dad in 1976.
momentous day in Lincoln
On Saturday, Oct. 16, 1976 President Ford on
his campaign trail stopped in Lincoln.
On the train with the President were his
wife Betty Ford, Gov. Thompson, Senator Charles Percy, Congressman
Ed Madigan (Lincoln) and persons of notoriety.
The train President Ford rode in on was
called, "Honest Abe.” Of course everyone remembers President Ford
saying that he, "was glad to be in Pontiac, IL."
The President was here two hours or more.
In addition to dinner, he also split a rail
and before the train left he re-christened the town with watermelon
juice from the back of the train.
the preparations for those special hours
The Presidential car was flown to
Springfield and driven to Lincoln.
That car was washed at Wayne Sheley's
Service Station. It was later thought that Mr. Sheley never
submitted his bill.
They drove the President from the Lincoln
Depot to the Lincoln Hotel for lunch. Mandy Bree ran the hotel at
The original plan was that the LJHS band was
not going to play, as this was a political thing. Another group saw
it as the President coming to town. Therefore the Jr. High Band was
allowed to play. A couple other bands came to play as well.
There was also a young colonial color guard
from the Lincoln Jr. High School.
Mr. Gleason worked with the White House aids
on the Depot decorations. His Constitution class at Lincoln Jr.
High School made the campaign banners and decorated the Lincoln
His mother, Jennie Gleason, sewed the
bunting from red, white and blue material that they bought at the JC
Penney store here. His mom tore the material into nine-inch strips
and made the bunting on her sewing machine. On Monday or Tuesday
they put the bunting up around the Depot.
Gleason also met with the White House aids
at night discussing security for the President. They asked Mr.
Gleason if he knew of anyone who might have made derogatory remarks
about the President.
There were two assassination attempts during
The Arts and Craft Guild and the
Railsplitter Association had a crafts display near the tracks and
demonstrated some of the things from years past. They borrowed
pumpkins and the secret service had to check each one of them for
There were numerous procedures that the
security people took, such as, there was a yellow mark on the rail
where the train would stop and a blue X on the ground for the
President to step on when he got off the train.
Several trains ran ahead of the presidential
train. They were special types of engines, which ran to determine
if there were explosives under the tracks.
Gleason arranged for Betty Ford to be
presented with a dozen red roses that had been purchased from Doris'
Floral Shoppe. He had a duplicate bouquet made up just like the one
given to her, which he saved.
Oh yes, and Gleason says that he did save
all those letters from President Ford...somewhere in all his stuff.
[White House Biography / ABC News reports / Jan