DETROIT (WWJ) – The last surviving grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford is gone. William Clay Ford, Sr. died Sunday at the age of 88.
Ford was born on March 14, 1925. During World War II he joined the U.S. Navy. Later, Ford attended Yale University and was elected to Ford Motor Company’s board of directors in 1948, a year before he graduated. He married Martha Parke Firestone, the granddaughter of Harvey Firestone and together they had four children.
Among his achievements as a longtime executive with the Ford Motor company, Ford Sr. updated the Continental that his father had created, introducing the Continental Mark II in 1955. It is said there were only two pictures on his office wall … his father’s Continental, and his updated Mark II.
During Ford Motor’s centennial celebrations in 2003, Ford Sr. spoke of learning to drive in a Model A with his grandfather and taking his first airplane ride with Charles Lindbergh. He sat on the Ford Motor Company board of directors for 57 years but cars were not his only passion. On November 22, 1963, Ford purchased a controlling interest in the Detroit Lions. He owned the team until his death.
Ford served as a board member of Ford Motor Company.
A statement from Mayor Mike Duggan on the passing of William Clay Ford, Sr.
“I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of William Clay Ford, Sr., today. Not only was Mr. Ford a titan in our business community; he has been one of Detroit’s greatest supporters and philanthropists. His commitment to the city was never more evident than it was with his decision to move the Detroit Lions back downtown to the stadium that
bears his family’s name. That vote of confidence in Detroit was an important piece of the redevelopment of downtown that has since taken place.
Mr. Ford’s compassion was equally evident in the many philanthropic causes he supported so generously over the years.
My heart goes out to his family and loved ones as they mourn their loss. Mr. Ford’s legacy surely will live on through his extraordinary family.”
Statement from Ford Motor Company [HERE]