Brother Gerald R. Ford
President Gerald Ford stated, Masonic precepts can help America retain our inspiring aspirations while adapting to a new age.
Thanks to Brother Robert C. Carmen, and the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York for this photograph.
The following is the text of a message of condolence on the passing of our Brother Mason, Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States of America and a member of Malta Lodge No 465, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This statement was issued December 27, 2006 by the Grand Masters of New York and Michigan and the Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America.
"Gerald R. Ford embodied the tenets of Freemasonry. He upheld the values of personal integrity and of being true to his word, and in a time of great crisis, Brother Ford, a true patriot, also sought to heal our
ailing Nation. As our President, he represented our fraternity well.
On behalf of the Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons of the States of Michigan and New York, the Masonic Service Association of North America, and Masons everywhere, we offer our sincere condolences to Betty Ford and her family on the passing of Brother Gerald Ford, a
humble man who calmly guided our country out of one of its darkest hours."
Neal I. Bidnick
Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York
Walter F. Wheeler
Grand Lodge of Michigan, Free and Accepted Masons
Richard E. Fletcher
Masonic Service Association of North America
Brother Gerald R. Ford, circa 1977, at the Scottish Rite Building, 2900 16th St., Washigton D.C. Thanks to Brother Robert C. Carmen, and the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York for this photograph.
Freemasons gathered at the Naval Lodge Hall (located at 330 S. Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC), at 10:30 AM Sunday Morning, December 31st, and walked together to the Capitol Rotunda where Bro. Gerald R. Ford's body lay in state. Brethren were requested to dress accordingly in mourning clothes, dark suits or formal attire. With the Grand Master's approval, officers wore jewels and collars.
Grand Master M. Hollsinger of Michigan presents President Gerald Ford with Michigan's 50 year award. "Masonry was an important part of my father's life, and it has been an important part of mine," Ford said.
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.”
President Ford spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Gerald R. Ford Masonic Medallion at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial on February 17, 1975.
Initiated: September 30, 1949, Malta Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids, Michigan, along with his half-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.
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.
Brother Ford's first services to Freemasonry came when he was selected for the Eastern Team on the Shriner's East West Crippled Children game at San Francisco on January 1, 1935. He was a member of the University of Michigan's undefeated national championship football team in 1934, and played in the Shriner's East-West Crippled Children's benefit classic in San Francisco.
Brother Ford joined Saladin Shrine Temple, A.A.O.N.M.A.S. in 1959 and was a member of Court No. 11, Royal Order of Jesters.