DETROIT, Mich. (March 9, 2014)- The Detroit Lions and the Ford Motor Company both confirm that Detroit Lions’ owner William Clay Ford Sr. has died. He was the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford.
Ford bought controlling interest in the Lions back in November of 1963. Since that time the Lions have been to the playoffs ten times and only winning one playoff game.
Mr. Ford also served as Director Emeritus of the Ford Motor Company. According to a statement from the Ford Motor Company, Mr. Ford served Ford Motor Company for 57 years as an employee and board member, playing a pivotal role in shaping the company for more than half of its 110-year history.
Ford is survived by his wife of 66 years Martha, and his four children, Martha, Elizabeth, Shelia and Detroit Lions Vice Chairman William Jr. He also is survived by 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Tom Lewand, President of the Detroit Lions issued a statement today on the passing of Mr. Ford: “It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Mr. Ford and extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Ford and to the entire Ford family.”
“No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions.”
“Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit.”
“His leadership, integrity, kindness, humility and good humor were matched only by his desire to bring a Super Bowl championship to the Lions and to our community. Each of us in the organization will continue to relentlessly pursue that goal in his honor.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement as well on Sunday about Mr. Ford’s passing. “For five decades, Mr. Ford’s passion for the Lions, Detroit, and the NFL was the foundation of one of the NFL’s historic franchises. As an NFL owner, Mr. Ford helped bring the NFL through enormous periods of change and growth, always guided by his commitment to what was best for the NFL and his beloved Lions. All of us in the NFL extend our heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Ford’s wife Martha, Bill Ford, Jr. and the entire Ford family.”
William Clay Ford Sr. was 88-years-old.
The Ford Family asks, 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 Health System at 2799 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48045.
In honor of Mr. Ford’s memory, Ford Motor Company locations in the U.S. will lower their American and Ford flags to half-staff for a 30-day period. Ford locations outside of the U.S. will follow local custom.
Funeral services for William Clay Ford Sr. will be held privately, according to a statement from the Ford Motor Company.