Former University of Michigan Center Gerald Ford died last night at age 93. He played on the undefeated national championship teams in 1932 and 1933. Ford’s jersey, number 48 was later retired in a ceremony at half time of the Michigan-Michigan State game on October 8, 1994. Ford would sometimes have The Victors played at state functions in place of Hail to the Chief when he served later in his life as President of the United States.
As one example of how the world has changed since Ford’s college days, Ford turned down NFL offers in order to attend Yale Law School. As an example of how the world has changed since my college days, I recall once walking within a few feet of Ford when he was visiting the University of Michigan campus, with only one person on each side of him. Its hard to imagine a current President walking like that without having the entire area cordoned off.
Local television here in West Michigan has been covering this story all night, including shots of candles being set outside the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids by mourners. It has been announced that the lobby of the museum, which features a replica of the oval office, will be kept open until further notice. The rest of the museum will be closed. Reportedly Ford will be buried outside the museum after lying in state in Washington, D.C.