Gerald R. Ford
Gerald R. Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States of America, was initiated into Masonry on September 30, 1949, in Malta Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids, Michigan, along with his brothers Thomas Gardner Ford (1918-1995), Richard Addison Ford (1924-) and James Francis Ford (1927- ). The Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degrees were conferred by Columbia Lodge No. 3, Washington, D.C., on April 20 and May 18, 1951, as a courtesy to Malta Lodge.
Brother Ford was made a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, and Honorary Member, Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Northern Jurisdiction at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, on September 26, 1962, for which he served as Exemplar (Representative) for his Class. He was also awarded the Grand Cross, by Grand Commander Clausen in 1975.
President Ford said of Masonry, “When I took my obligation as a master mason--incidentally, with my three younger brothers--I recalled the value my own father attached to that order. But I had no idea that I would ever be added to the company of the Father of our Country and 12 other members of the order who also served as Presidents of the United States.
Masonic principles--internal, not external--and our order’s vision of duty to country and acceptance of God as a Supreme Being and guiding light have sustained me during my years of Government service. Today especially, the guidelines by which I strive to become an upright man in Masonry give me great personal strength.
Masonic precepts can help America retain our inspiring aspirations while adapting to a new age. It is apparent to me that the Supreme Architect has set out the duties each of us has to perform, and I have trusted in His will with the knowledge that my trust is well-founded.
...It was almost 200 years ago, in the darkest days of our war for independence, that George Washington answered a question that is sometimes asked today. The question is whether things are as bad as some say. George Washington answered, and I quote: “We should never despair. Our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.”
Let us today rededicate ourselves to new efforts--as Masons and as Americans. Let us demonstrate our confidence in our beloved Nation and a future that will flow from the glory of the past. When I think of the things right about America, I think of this order with its sense of duty to country, its esteem for brotherhood and traditional values, its spiritual high principles, and its humble acceptance of God as the Supreme Being.”
Brother and President Ford was unanimously elected an Active Member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay and its Honorary Grand Master, at its Annual Session held at Orlando, Florida, April 6-9, 1975; Brother Ford held this post until January 1977, at which time he became a Past Honorary Grand Master, receiving his Collar and Jewel on October 24, 1978 in Topeka, Kansas, from the Hon. Thomas C. Raum, Jr., Grand Master, Order of DeMolay.
President Ford died at age 93 on December 26, 2006. He will be missed by his friends, family and Brethren.
Photos: President Ford in the Oval Office, courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Brothers Ford and Dole, courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
President Ford and his golden retriever, Liberty. Date: February 1975 Credit: White House Photograph Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library; Photographer: David Hume Kennerly
The President’s words about Masonry were spoken at the unveiling of the Gerald R. Ford Masonic Medallion.
Visit the Presidential Library and Museum of Gerald Ford: http://www.ford.utexas.edu/