William Clay Ford Sr. dead at 88

William Clay Ford

William Clay Ford, retired vice chairman of Ford Motor Company and the last surviving grandchild of organization founder Henry Ford, died this morning after a bout with pneumonia. He was 88.

Ford spent 57 many years with his grandfather’;s organization, joining the board of directors in 1948 prior to graduating from college. Ford also held a place as chairman of the design and style committee, as properly as the chairman of the executive committee and vice chairman of the Board of Directors in the course of his tenure with the organization. In a 2013 Detroit Cost-free Press story, retired CFO Allan Gilmour said Ford had an eye for style, and was when able to choose out when a fiberglass model of a Ford Contour was asymmetrical, off by an inch on one side. He retired and assumed the position of director emeritus in 2005.

“My father was a fantastic company leader and humanitarian who focused his daily life to the organization and the community,” stated Bill Ford, Jr., Ford’;s present executive chairman. “He also was a wonderful loved ones man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be drastically missed by every person who knew him, nevertheless he will proceed to inspire us all.”

Although Ford will be remembered for his longstanding support to his family’;s company, he might be less fondly remembered by Detroiters as owner of the city’;s extended-suffering NFL staff, the Detroit Lions. Ford purchased the Lions in 1963 and has served as its chairman ever considering that.

Scroll down for the official press release from the Ford Motor Organization.


William Clay Ford, who aided steer Ford Motor Organization into the present day era as an employee, director and influential member of the Ford family, died this morning at his residence from pneumonia.

Mr. Ford, 88, served as Director Emeritus, Ford Motor Company and was the last surviving grandchild of the company’;s founder, Henry Ford.

Mr. Ford served Ford Motor Firm for 57 years as an employee and board member, enjoying a pivotal function in shaping the organization for a lot more than half of its 110-year history. He was elected to the Board of Directors on June 4, 1948, and began his employment with the company right after graduating from Yale University in 1949. In 1957 he was elected chairman of the Style Committee, a submit he held for 32 years. Throughout his career, he was instrumental in setting the company’;s design route, overseeing the growth of a quantity of traditional vehicles, which includes the Continental Mark II, regarded as by numerous to be a single of the most iconic cars ever built.

In 1978, Mr. Ford was elected chairman of the Executive Committee and appointed a member of the Workplace of the Chief Executive. He was elected vice chairman of the Board in 1980 and chairman of the Finance Committee in 1987. He retired from his post as vice chairman in 1989 and as chairman of the Finance Committee in 1995. He retired from the board and was named Director Emeritus on Could twelve, 2005.

Mr. Ford is survived by his wife of 66 many years, Martha Firestone Ford daughters Martha Ford Morse (Peter), Sheila Ford Hamp (Steven), and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis (Charles) son William Clay Ford, Jr. (Lisa) 14 grandchildren and 2 fantastic-grandchildren.

“My father was a wonderful enterprise leader and humanitarian who devoted his existence to the firm and the local community,” stated William Clay Ford, Jr., executive chairman, Ford Motor Organization. “He also was a fantastic household man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed by everybody who knew him, however he will carry on to inspire us all.”

“Mr. Ford had a profound impact on Ford Motor Organization,” mentioned Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “The organization extends its deepest sympathies to the numerous members of the extended Ford family at this challenging time. Even though we mourn Mr. Ford’;s death, we also are grateful for his a lot of contributions to the business and the car sector.”

Mr. Ford had several associations and roles outside of Ford Motor Company. He became president of the Detroit Lions football team in 1961. He bought the group in November 1963 and served as its chairman till his death. He also was a devoted and generous philanthropist and local community leader.

He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Henry Ford Museum from 1951 to 1983, right after which he was named chairman emeritus. Mr. Ford served as a director of the Detroit Economic Club, was an honorary existence trustee of the Eisenhower Health care Center and a national trustee for the Boys’; and Girls’; Clubs of America. He also was an honorary chair of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and served on the Texas Heart Institute Nationwide Advisory Council.

In 1996, Henry Ford Hospital opened The William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medication, a leading sports activities medicine treatment method and study institution. In 1997, the outdoor courts of the University of Michigan’;s new tennis center also have been named in his honor. The biggest donor in history at the Henry Ford Museum, the Wonderful Hall of the museum – The William Clay Ford Hall of American Innovation – also was named in recognition of his help.

Funeral companies will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent in the name of William Clay Ford to the Henry Ford Museum at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, Mich. 48124 or to Dr. Scott Dulchavsky’;s Innovation Institute at Henry Ford Overall health Technique at 2799 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48045.

In honor of Mr. Ford’;s memory, Ford Motor Business spots in the U.S. will lower their American and Ford flags to half-staff for a 30-day period. Ford places outdoors of the U.S. will stick to regional customized.
For additional information, timelines, photographs and video on Mr. Ford’;s daily life, check out media.ford.com.

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