Ford exec, Lions owner William Clay Ford dies

Published On: Mar 09 2014 01:41:41 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 09 2014 12:39:56 PM EDT

William Clay Ford Sr., director emeritus of Ford Motor Company and the owner of the Detroit Lions, died of pneumonia Sunday morning, according to a statement released by the car company. He was 88.

William Clay Ford Sr. was also the last surviving grandson of Ford Motor Company's founder, Henry Ford.

William Clay Ford Sr. worked at the company bearing his family's name for 57 years, serving as both an employee and a board member, according to the company. He was first elected to the board in 1948 and started working for Ford after graduating from Yale University in 1949. He eventually was elected vice chairman of the board in 1980 and chairman of the finance committee in 1987. He was named the company's director emeritus in 2005.

William Clay Ford Sr. was also deeply involved with the Detroit Lions, becoming president of the football team in 1961 and purchasing it in 1963. He was the team's chairman until his death, according to Ford Motor Company.

"My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community," William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, said in a statement released by the 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."

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