In Memoriam Bill Ford

The last member of the Ford family to occupy a senior executive position Ford Motor Co. Chairman, William Clay Ford Jr., 88 “Bill Ford” passed this week from pneumonia. Bill was a grandson of Edsel Ford, and for most of his career occupied the position of Executive Chairman. His cousin, Edsel Ford II, filled positions of president for Ford Credit and in recent years. Ford family members, Elena Ford and Henry Ford III, also took active roles in the company’s management.

Ford’s senior management will be led by Mark Fields, company president and CEO, an administrative and managerial expert, who would be the first Jewish senior executive in the 108 year history of the company.

At age 10, “Billy” Ford was taught to drive a Model T by his grandfather, Henry Ford.
As a beginning driver along the shore of Lake St. Clair, MI, near his home, Bill was caught speeding, a front-page story in Detroit.

The family suffered another blow, as well as Ford dealers, when the Edsel sedan, named after Edsel Ford, had to be withdrawn in the 1950s due to technical and styling flaws. Edsel Ford was Henry Ford’s only child. The Lincoln Continental, a prized luxury sedan of the late 1930s through the 1960s, became the only U.S. car named after a U. S. President. Detroit has a major hospital named after Ford.