Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Honored by a president
December 28, 2006

Jim Ottoman cried when he heard former President Gerald Ford died.

The 82-year-old, a long-time Malin farmer and now a Klamath Falls resident, met Ford in 1975 after being selected as National Farm Family of the year.

H&N photo by Andrew Mariman:  Jim and Patricia Ottoman share memories of their trip to visit Gerald Ford when the family was recognized as the National Farm Family of the Year in 1975.

The contest, sponsored by the Farmer's Home Administration and funded by a private company, recognized farmers highly active in their communities, Ottoman said.

Winners traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with President Ford, the secretary of agriculture and various senators and congressmen.

“He was a great man,” Ottoman said. “When we went to the Oval Office to meet him, he came around the desk and shook our hands. Here was the president of the United States, one of the busiest men in the world, and he took the time to meet us.”

‘Very gracious man'

Pat Ottoman, Jim's wife of 59 years, said Ford made such an impression that the couple voted for him in the 1976 election. “Meeting President Ford was the best thing that ever happened to us. He was a very gracious and genteel man,” she said.

Jim Ottoman's greatest memory of Ford was the courage he said it took to pardon Nixon.

“You had to live at that time to understand how big of a decision that was,” he said. “In hindsight he did the right thing, but over half the country at that time wanted (Nixon) impeached.”

His biggest regret was that Ford was never elected president in his own right.

“He didn't have enough time to be president,” Ottoman said. “As a legislator, he always worked across the aisle to reach a consensus, something that isn't done anymore.”

- Gerry Baksys

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2006, All Rights Reserved