but could return to the matchday
DETROIT -- William Clay Ford, the last surviving grandchild of automotive pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, has died. He was 88. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement Sunday that Ford died of pneumonia at his home in Grosse Pointe, Mich. Ford helped steer the family business for more than five decades. He bought one of his own, the NFL franchise in the Motor City, a half-century ago. He served as an employee and board member of the automaker for more than half of its 100-year history. "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 Co. and Lions vice chairman, said in a statement. "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." Ford was regarded as a dignified man by the select few who seemed to know him well. To the masses in Detroit, he was simply the owner of the Lions who struggled to achieve success on the field despite showing his passion for winning by spending money on free agents, coaches, executives and facilities. Fords first full season leading the Lions was in 1964, seven years after the franchise won the NFL title. The lone playoff victory he enjoyed was in 1992. The Lions are the only team to go 0-16 in a season, hitting rock bottom in 2008. After an 11-year drought, the Lions improved enough to make the playoffs in 2011 only to lose a combined 21 games over the next two seasons. "No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions," Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement released by the team. "Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit. His leadership, integrity, kindness, humility and good humour 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 honour." Born into an automotive fortune in 1925 bearing what was already a household name, Ford was 23 when he joined the Ford Motor Co. board of directors in 1948, one year after the death of his grandfather, Henry Ford. He maintained as low a profile as his name would allow, serving on various executive committees and spearheading the design, development and introduction of the Continental Mark II in 1956. He was elected a Ford vice chairman in 1980 and retired with that title in 1989. Ford remained a company director until 2005, later taking the title of director emeritus. "Mr. Ford had a profound impact on Ford Motor Company," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement. "The company extends its deepest sympathies to the many members of the extended Ford family at this difficult time. While we mourn Mr. Fords death, we also are grateful for his many contributions to the company and the auto industry." He helped institutionalize the practice of professional management atop the company that began with the naming of Philip Caldwell as Ford CEO in 1979 and as Ford chairman in March 1980, without relinquishing the Ford familys control. As a board member, Ford helped bring the company back under his familys control in 2001, when the directors ousted former CEO Jacques Nasser in favour of William Clay Ford Jr. The youngest of Edsel B. Fords four children, Ford Sr. was first elected to the Ford Motor Co. board in June 1948. He rarely spoke publicly but was reflective during the companys centennial year in 2003. At the annual meeting, he told stories about his grandfather teaching him to drive at age 10, and of being taken for his first airplane ride in a Ford Tri-Motor by Charles Lindbergh. "I just want you to know that we have tremendous pride in the Ford name," he told the shareholders more than a decade ago. "We have a spirit of working together, and we have a passion for cars. And we also have a great desire to see the Ford name in the forefront of world transportation." Ford always kept the Lions close to his heart. He knew how much the team meant to people who lived in or grew up in Michigan. "I think sports are a wonderful diversion," Ford told The Detroit News in 1980. "People can relate to sports very easily. Its a quick study." But while each of the Motor Citys other three professional franchises -- the Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers -- won at least one championship, the Lions were synonymous with losing under Ford. He seemed to lead the Lions with a light touch, leaving most decisions up to administrators such as Russ Thomas, Chuck Schmidt, Matt Millen and current general manager Martin Mayhew. Even though the franchise rarely produced a successful product, the stands are usually filled with fans desperate to witness a winner. "Detroit, and Im not blowing smoke at anybody, is probably the greatest fan sports town in the country," Ford told The News in 1980, the year after a 2-14 team set a franchise attendance record. "Theyll support anything." Ford moved the club from Tiger Stadium in Detroit to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975 before bringing his team back downtown. Ford Field -- a spectacular 65,000-seat, $315 million indoor stadium -- opened in 2002 that, coupled with a state-of-the-art team headquarters in nearby Allen Park, gave the Lions the best facilities money could buy. But a blueprint for consistently winning was elusive. From Fords first season as team owner to his last, the Lions won 310 games, lost 441 and tied 13. Ford was married to the former Martha Parke Firestone, an heiress to the Akron, Ohio, rubber fortune. Her grandfather, Harvey Firestone, was a close friend of Henry Ford. They had three daughters, a son, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be private. Marcus Davenport Saints Jersey . -- Orleans Darkwa ran in from 1 yard with 1:45 left, and the Miami Dolphins rallied from two scores down in the final minutes to beat the Dallas Cowboys 25-20 on Saturday night. Natrell Jamerson Saints Jersey . Dumont, a fifth round draft pick of the Canadiens in 2009, has four assists and 20 penalty minutes in 12 games with the Bulldogs this season. The 23-year-old split last season between Hamilton and Montreal, recording 16 goals and 15 assists in 55 regular season games with the Bulldogs. http://www.officialsaintslockroom.com/ri...-saints-jersey/. -- Valentin Zykov scored in overtime as the Baie-Comeau Drakkar rallied to a 3-2 victory over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Sunday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff action. Custom Saints Jerseys . After just two league games in June, Toronto (6-4-1) will go on to play seven in July plus a friendly against Tottenham. Five of those contests are against Eastern Conference opposition, meaning valuable points in the playoff race are on the line. Marcus Davenport Jersey .J. -- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is going to start the off-season training program with a surgically repaired left ankle.Blackpool look set to have almost their full complement of players available for Saturdays Sky Bet League 1 home clash with Colchester. Lloyd Jones, on loan from Liverpool, has been in and out of the Seasiders squad of late after an ankle injury but could return to the matchday 18 this weekend following a goalscoring appearance for his parent clubs under-21s on Monday.Fellow defender Emmerson Boyce was not involved in last Saturdays 2-0 win over Southend having only just returned from international duty with Barbados, but could also be back in the mix against 23rd-placed Colchester. Twentieth-placed Blackpools only definite absentee, as they llook to once again boost their survival bid with a fourth win in five games, is midfielder Henry Cameron, whose season has been ended by a knee problem.ddddddddddddThe Us expect to have Owen Garvan back from a neck problem after the midfielder returned to training.Midfielder Joe Edwards has also stepped up his fitness work, so could be involved along with defender Lee Chambers, who had a hamstring problem.Defender George Elokobi remains out with a leg injury, and is set to head to the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall next week for specialist treatment.Striker Marvin Sordell and midfielder Sammie Szmodics and are also still recovering following ankle surgery. NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2020 Wholesale NFL Gear China Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys China ' ' '
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