Ford, Gerald Rudolph, born Leslie King.

Back to all people

- Medals

united statesairforcegovernment

Ford, Gerald, born 14-07-1913, Omaha, Nebraska, born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His mother, Dorothy Ayer Gardner, divorced from Leslie Lynch King, Sr.,  a wool trader and son of a prominent banker Charles Henry King, just sixteen days after her son’s birth. She took her son with her to the Oak Park, Illinois home of her sister Tannisse and brother-in-law, Clarence Haskins James. From there, she moved to the home of her parents, Levi Addison Gardner and Adele Augusta Ayer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dorothy and King divorced in December 1913 and she gained full custody of her son. Ford’s paternal grandfather Charles Henry King paid child support until shortly before his death in 1930. Gerald Ford later said his biological father had a history of hitting his mother. According to Ford’s biographer Lou Cannon, the Kings’ separation and divorce was the result of an incident which occurred a few days after Ford’s birth, when Leslie King threatened to kill Dorothy while brandishing a butcher knife. King had first hit his wife on their honeymoon for smiling at another man.

After two and a half years with her parents, on 01-02-1916, Dorothy married Gerald Rudolff Ford, a salesman in a family-owned paint and varnish company. They then called her son Gerald Rudolff Ford, Jr. The future president was never formally adopted, however, and he did not legally change his name until 03-12-1935. Ford later said “My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn’t have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing.”

Ford graduated from law school in 1941 and in May 1941, he opened a Grand Rapids law practice, but overseas developments caused a change in plans and Ford responded to the attack on Pearl Harbour by enlisting in the Navy. During the one year he was at the Preflight School, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on 02-06-1942 and to Lieutenant in March 1943.

Ford served as the assistant navigator, Athletic Officer and antiaircraft battery officer on board the Monterey.  While he was on board, the carrier participated in many actions in the Pacific Theather with the Third  and Fifth Fleets during the fall of 1943 and in 1944. In 1943, the carrier helped secure Markin Island in the Gilberts and participated in carrier strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland in 1943. The Raid on Makin Island (17–18 August 1942) was an attack by the United States Marine Corps Raiders on Japanese military forces on Makin Island (now known as Butaritari) in the Pacific Ocean. The aim was to destroy Imperial Japanese installations, take prisoners, gain intelligence on the Gilbert Islands area, and divert Japanese attention and reinforcements from the Allied landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Only the first of these objectives were achieved, but the raid did boost morale and provide a test for Raider tactics.


Aircraft from the Monterey launched strikes against Wake Island, participated in strikes in the Philippines and Ryukyus and supported the landings at Leyte and Mindoro.

Although the ship was not damaged by Japanese forces, the Monterey was one of several ships damaged by the typhoon that hit Admiral Wlliam “Bull” Halsey’s Third Fleet on December 18-19-1944. The Third Fleet lost three destroyers and over 800 men during the typhoon.

Gerald Ford was released from active duty under honorable conditions on 23-02-1946. On 28-06-1946, the Secretary of the Navy accepted Ford’s resignation from the Naval Reserve.

On 15-10-1948, at Grace Eppiscopal Church in Grand Rapids, Ford married Elizabeth Bloomer Warren

     (1918–2011), a department store fashion consultant. Warren had been a John Robert Powers fashion model and a dancer in the auxiliary troupe of the Martha Graham Dance Company. She had previously been married to and divorced from William G. “Bill” Warren. Bill died about 1947 at about age 30 in Grand Rapids.

At the time of his engagement, Ford was campaigning for what would be his first of thirteen terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The wedding was delayed until shortly before the elections because, as The New York Times reported in a 1974 profile of Betty Ford, “Jerry was running for Congress and wasn’t sure how voters might feel about his marrying a divorced ex-dancer.”

The couple had four children: Michael Gerald, born in 1950, John Gardner, known as Jack, born in 1952, Steven Meigs, born in 1956 and Susan Elizabeth, born in 1957

Ford received the Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the Amercan Campaign and World War II Victory medals. He was honorably discharged in February 1946.

Death and burial ground of Ford, Gerald Rudolph, born Leslie King.

    Ford became the 38th President of America and died at the very old age of 93, on 26-12-2006 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, of arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease.

Gerald Ford is buried in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:


Eddie Albert Eddie Albert

Share on :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *