On a cold December afternoon, Ann Arbor resident Mariann Apley took a walk through Nichols Arboretum with her three young children and their dog. Even though the children were on winter break, the family was headed for the library.

Their destination was North Campus, home of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. The library contains the documents of the University’s most famous alum. There, Apley explained Ford’s life to her children.

“We wanted the kids to think about the passing of a president,” she said. “They kind of reflected on his life.”

Inside the library, poster boards covered with photographs show different parts of Ford’s life, from his childhood in Grand Rapids to his time in the White House to his later life in California and Colorado.

The library also opened to the public Ford’s private offices, where he worked when he visited the library.

Archivist Geir Gundersen said the library had received many visitors wishing to pay their respects to Ford.

“There’s an appreciation for what President Ford did,” Gundersen said.

The library extended its hours last week, staying open two hours later than normal, and showed two documentaries on Ford’s life and legacy.

A table in the library holds two, thick condolences books, where visitors can leave messages that will be sent to the Ford family. Not everyone in the book was from Ann Arbor: Visitors hailed from California, Ontario and Texas, among other places.

“Mr. President, you done good,” wrote one visitor.

“We had our photo taken with Ford on a Calvin College Board tour to Washington, D.C.,” recalled another.

Visitors quietly perused the display boards, videos and informational signs. Written on the library’s walls are countless anecdotes about Ford’s life.

Marty Krawczyk drove from Flint to visit the library. Although he said he didn’t know much about Ford, seeing his death announced on CNN inspired Krawczyk and his brother to make the trip to Ann Arbor.

“(Ford) was a great leader, and an outstanding citizen,” Krawczyk said.

The Ford library is separate from his museum in Grand Rapids. However, they share an administration and are effectively different campuses of one institution.

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