William Clay Ford Sr., Henry Ford’s Last Surviving Grandson, Has Died at 88

William Clay Ford Sr.

William Clay Ford Sr., Henry Ford’s last surviving grandson, died this morning at age 88 due to pneumonia.

He was born in Detroit on March 14, 1925 and was the youngest of four children born to Eleanor Clay and Edsel Ford who was Henry Ford’s only child. The remaining three children were Benson Ford who died in 1978, Henry Ford II, longtime CEO and chairman of Ford, who died in 1987, and Josephine Ford who died in 2005.

William Clay Ford Sr. worked for Ford for 57 years of the company’s 110-year history. He first joined the Board of Directors in 1948 and started working for the company the next year after graduating from Yale University.

He was elected chairman of the Design Committee in 1957 and then continued to hold that position for the next 32 years. There, Ford helped shaped the company’s design direction for classics like the Continental Mark II.

Ford was elected chairman of the Executive Committee in 1978 and appointed a member of the Office of the Chief Executive. He was later elected as vice chairman of the Board in 1980 and chairman of the Finance Committee in 1987. He retired from those positions in 1989 and 1995 before retiring completely and being named Director Emeritus on May 12, 2005.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Martha Firestone Ford, whose grandfather founded the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. The pair had three daughters; Martha Ford Morse, Sheila Ford Hamp, and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis, and one son; current executive Chairman William Clay Ford Jr.

In honor of Mr. Ford’s memory, US locations will lower their American and Ford flags to half-staff for 30 days while locations outside of the U.S. following their local customs.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.