Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.) (July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. He was the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, and became President upon Richard Nixon's resignation at noon on August 9, 1974. Ford was the fifth U.S. President never to have been elected to that position, and the only one to have held both the office of Vice-President and the office of President while never having been elected to either. He was also the longest-lived president in U.S. history, dying at the age of 93 (only six weeks longer than Ronald Reagan). He was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He married Elizabeth, or Betty Bloomer.
Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.
As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente in the Cold War. Compared with his predecessors, Ford's policies were less directed towards intervention in Vietnamese affairs. Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his more controversial decisions was granting a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. Also during Ford's Presidency, he pushd for Puerto Rican statehood and after the referendum in 1975 at which statehood won, Ford would push the Puerto Rico State Act through Congress and that officially made Puerto Rico the 51st state of the United States. During Ford’s incumbency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President. In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but ultimately lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006, Ford died at his home on December 26, 2006.