By on March 9, 2014

william-clay-ford

The largest single shareholder in the Ford Motor Company died in his sleep last night from pneumonia-related complications. Mr. Ford sat on the board (hey, that rhymes!) for fifty-seven years, owned the Detroit Lions NFL team, and was at least partially responsible for the Continental Mark II.

Mr. Ford’s son, William Clay Ford, Jr., served in the primary leadership positions at Ford Motor Company before turning those positions over to Alan Mullaly. The WSJ quoted Ford, Jr., and Mullaly,

“My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community,” said William Clay Ford, Jr., executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “He also was a wonderful family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, yet he will continue to inspire us all.”

“Mr. Ford had a profound impact on Ford Motor Company,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “The company extends its deepest sympathies to the many members of the extended Ford family at this difficult time. While we mourn Mr. Ford’s death, we also are grateful for his many contributions to the company and the auto industry.”

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19 Comments on “William Clay Ford, Sr. (March 14, 1925 – March 9, 2014)...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    RIP

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    RIP Mr. Ford, you will be missed.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I saw this article and went searching for “William Clay Ford, Sr. quotes”. I couldn’t find anything but something his son, William Clay Ford, Jr. once said that stuck out to me:

    One of the things I’ve had the advantage of, growing up and being close to the top management of this company and other companies for most of my life, is seeing how CEOs start to believe in their own infallibility. And that really scares me. – William Clay Ford, Jr.

    It made me think of Ol’ Henry himself. Considering how the founder had to be forced out of the day to day operations of his own company I wonder what sort of lessons are passed on in the Ford family, what the family members take personally from the companies history.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ PrincipalDan…….I think history will be kind to Bill Ford Jr. Bill Jr knew that he didn’t have what it takes to keep Ford afloat.

      Handing the company over to Al Mullally, took a lot of guts. Not every man can admit to himself, and the rest of the world, that he was over his head.

      Bill Sr must of instilled some great values to his son.

      May he rest in peace.

  • avatar
    crm114

    Does the Continental Mark II make up for the last 50 years of Lions football?

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    It only took 33 minutes for TTAC to rewrite(?) the ‘Alert’ post from Automotive News. I think that might qualify for a new record.

    OK! Let it fly…col!

  • avatar

    wonder if he had a flu shot? I avoid them.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Sounds like the pneumonia did him in, not the flu shot’s Thimerosal.

      http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      It’s called being 88 years old. The flu shot probably helped him get to that age. People that don’t get the flu shot might as well smoke 2 packs a day and wash it down with a fifth of Kessler’s. It’s just about as stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      Thank the herd for your immunity then. The flu shot doesn’t give you the flu, an “old” wives tale that survives as a relic of the swine flu shots of the Carter administration. Additionally thimerosal is a safe preservative in multi dose vaccine supplies, while single dose shots contain no thimerosal at all. Don’t get me started with the autism thing. Visit a site like Quackwatch to get some informed medical advice. Try this page for example: http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/immu/too_many.html
      Empirical experience is no substitute for scientific study. If a complication of pneumonia was the result of failing to vaccinate, then that would be very sad indeed.

  • avatar

    As Jack mentioned, WCF Sr. had a role in the creation of the Continental Mark II, surely one of the most beautiful and well made cars ever produced, though the project lost a lot of money. He apparently inherited at least some of his father Edsel’s eye for design, heading Ford’s executive styling committee and making positive suggestions on design.

    Loyal to a fault, he seems to have done a good job as a father. His son Billy is one of more respected business executives in the U.S. It takes a big man to admit that he’s not the person for the job and not only did Bill Ford Jr. do that, he actually went out and found the right guy for the job.

    Also, while the Detroit Lions haven’t exactly thrived as a football team during Wm Clay Ford Sr’s tenure as owner, the National Football League certainly did and he had an important role in the league’s growth and success, particularly when Pete Rozelle was the NFL commissioner.

    Props to Brad Keselowski who mentioned Mr. Ford and his significance to the Detroit area in his post race comments in victory circle at the NASCAR race in Las Vegas (Brad K, who is from the Detroit area, drives a Ford for Roger Penske, whose also based here).

  • avatar
    rudiger

    One has to wonder how the company might have turned out if Edsel had lived longer, and it was William Clay, and not Henry II, who would eventually have ended up running the company.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Maybe now The Lions will be sold to someone who actually knows how to run a sports team. Fat chance of that happening though.

  • avatar
    Panther Platform

    Every time I see a Mark II at a show or museum it’s beauty and elegance takes my breath away. For that alone and more, thank you Mr. Ford. RIP

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