Ford was born Leslie Lynch King on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska. When he was just 2 years old, his parents divorced, and his mother moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he grew up. His mother remarried, and he was adopted and renamed after his stepfather, Gerald Rudolph Ford.
Ford was a high school senior when he met his biological father, AP reported. He was working in a Greek restaurant, he recalled, when a man came in and stood watching.
“Finally, he walked over and said, ‘I’m your father,’ ” Ford said, according to AP. “Well, that was quite a shock.” But he wrote in his memoir that he broke down and cried that night and was left with the image of “a carefree, well-to-do man who didn’t really give a damn about the hopes and dreams of his firstborn son,” AP reported.