Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. said in a statement Monday that Dearborn, home to the world headquarters of Ford Motor Co., is “better off” because of the contributions of William Clay Ford Sr., who died Sunday of pneumonia at the age of 88.
The death of the longtime auto executive, Detroit Lions owner and philanthropist had a positive impact on the city and the region for many decades, O’Reilly said. Dearborn is tied to Ford Motor Co. and to the Ford family in unique ways, and Ford was an integral part of that legacy, O’Reilly said.
Ford is credited with helping steer the automaker through tough times and into a modern era, especially with its auto designs. He also brought the practice facility for the Detroit Lions, which he owned for more than 50 years, to the city of Dearborn.
Additionally, he was chairman of the board of trustees of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn for 32 years. In 1983, he was named chairman emeritus. A great hall in the museum was named the William Clay Ford Hall of American Innovation.
“We appreciate his unique contribution in preserving history while at the same time embracing innovation,” O’Reilly siad.
There are other reasons to be appreciative of Mr. Ford’s contributions, the mayor said.
“We remain grateful to Mr. Ford for his strong sense of corporate citizenship, which has added value to the lives of people throughout Michigan and around the world,” he said. “Mr. Ford was an icon in the auto industry, in the NFL, and in charitable circles, and was an inexorable part of Dearborn’s heritage, but not just because of his last name."