Meridian friends mourn the death of Gerald R. Ford

By Ben Lockridge

staff writer

Two Meridian residents who were feeling the loss of former President Gerald R. Ford Wednesday knew him personally.

Paul Springer says he knew Ford when he went to law school at Yale.

"I was an undergraduate at the time, but I knew him as the freshman boxing coach at Yale," Springer said.

He said he took boxing lessons in 1937 under Ford's training. He also said his late brother once met President Ford.

"My brother at one time presented him with an Equadorian weaving at a national prayer breakfast," Springer said.

Gil Carmichael of Missouth properties has a long history with President Ford. Carmichael served as an advisor under Ford's administration.

"My friendship with Gerald Ford goes way back when he was in the House of Representatives. I remember when (he) was vice president and then all of sudden became President of the United States," Carmichael said.

Working with Dick Cheney, Carmichael was instrumental in President Ford's presidential campaign in 1976.

"I had run two state-wide races, and (he) had never run anything more than a district race back in Michigan. So he wasn't familiar with how to run a national race at all, so I felt like I could help. I ended up doing a lot of campaign work for him," Carmichael said.

He called Ford a wonderful leader who was very good to him over the years.

"He was a good strong friend who put me in several commissions and took me under his wing. I loved the man, and I'll deeply miss him," Carmichael said.

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