William Clay Ford, Sr.

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William Clay Ford, Sr.

Birthplace: Michigan
Death: Died
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Place of Burial: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Edsel Bryant Ford and Eleanor L. Lowthian Clay
Husband of Martha Parke Ford
Father of <private> Ford; Sheila Hamp; William Clay Ford, Jr.; <private> Ford and Ford
Brother of Henry Ford II ("HF2" and "Hank the Deuce"); Benson Ford; Josephine Ford and Mary "Polly" Giffin

Managed by: Hannelore Caulk Scheu
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William Clay Ford, Sr.

on the right in profile photo


William Clay Ford, Sr. (born March 14, 1925, died March 9, 2014) is the youngest of the four children of Edsel Ford and the youngest grandchild of Henry Ford.


Ford served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps during World War II. He married Martha Firestone, the granddaughter of Harvey Firestone and Idabelle Smith Firestone on 21 June 1947. They have four children - Martha, Sheila, Elizabeth, and William Clay Ford, Jr. Ford received a BS in Economics from Yale University in 1949 and was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity.

He worked for the Ford Motor Company and was briefly head of the Continental Division. This division was short lived, and was merged with Lincoln shortly before Ford's public stock offering. He updated the Continental that his father had created, and in 1955 the Continental Mark II was released. It is said there were only 2 pictures on the wall in his office at Ford HQ, his father's Continental, and his updated Mark II.

He was chairman of the most important of the directors' committees, the Finance Committee. He sat on the Ford Board of Directors for 57 years, retiring on May 12, 2005. His son was serving as Ford's CEO at the time.

Ford became the sole owner of the Detroit Lions in 1964, purchasing the franchise for $4.5 million from Dick Richards.

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William Clay Ford, Sr.'s Timeline

March 14, 1925
Age 25
May 3, 1957
Age 32
Detroit, Michigan, United States
March 9, 2014
Age 88
Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States