Ford was elected to the Board of Directors on June 4th, 1948, a year before graduating from Yale University. Later, in 1957, he was elected chairman of the Design Committee, a post he held for 32 years. He oversaw the development of a number of classic vehicles, including the iconic Continental Mark II.
In 1978, Ford was elected chairman of the Executive Committee and appointed a member of the Office of the Chief Executive. He was elected vice chairman of the Board in 1980 and chairman of the Finance Committee in 1987. Ford retired from the board and was named Director Emeritus on May 12th, 2005.
His son, William Clay Ford Jr., is now the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company.
William Clay Ford is survived by his wife of 66 years, Martha Firestone Ford, as well as his four children, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.