William Clay Ford Sr.'s death: Leaders and sports world reactSun, 09 Mar 2014
William Clay Ford Sr., who died on Sunday at the age of 88, served in numerous positions at the Ford Motor Company, including 32 years as chairman of the Design Committee, and became chairman of the Executive Committee in 1978.
Comments on the death of Ford, the last surviving grandchild of automotive pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the NFL's Detroit Lions:
"The Fords are among Michigan's iconic, founding families, and he was an innovator in the family tradition as well as a strong leader. Like his grandfather, he was passionate about automobiles and the auto industry, the city of Detroit and his family. He embodied the resilience, ingenuity and leadership that brought Ford Motor Co. and Detroit great success, and sustained both through tough times." — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
"Not only was Mr. Ford a titan in our business community, he has been one of Detroit's greatest supporters and philanthropists. His commitment to the city was never more evident than it was with his decision to move the Detroit Lions back downtown to the stadium that bears his family's name. That vote of confidence in Detroit was an important piece of the redevelopment of downtown that has since taken place. " — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
"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." — Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand.
"In so many NFL locker rooms, if the owner is around, players put their heads down and hope not to get noticed. In Detroit, I noticed right away that players would go up to him to say hello. One time, I hollered, 'Big Willie is in the house,' when he walked in the locker room. Some guys were looking at me like I was about to get cut, but then Mr. Ford later came over and cracked up about it." — Johnnie Morton, former Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers receiver.
"His accomplishments in business, both in the automotive industry and in professional sports as the proud owner of the Lions, were exceeded only by his many civic and charitable contributions." — Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores.
"He led with a memorable blend of class, dignity and unwavering commitment to our community and his legacy will always be a source of pride for our city, state and nation." — Detroit Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch.
"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." — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
"My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community. 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." — Bill Ford, Ford Motor Co. executive chairman.
"He was a worthy successor not only to a great company but also a legacy — and he served both exceptionally well. The grandson of Henry Ford will be remembered as a man of style, for both the automobiles he built and the life he led. He was a giant ... who forever will be missed." — Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO.
“William Clay Ford was a visionary and helped shape the automotive world. We are proud to carry the Ford name in our series. Our thoughts are with the Ford family at this time.” -- Global Rallycross CEO Colin Dyne.
By The Associated Press and Autoweek Staff