Known as "Dody" to her family, Mrs. Ford was the third of Edsel Ford's four children. She was the granddaughter of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford and the aunt of CEO Bill Ford. Her younger brother, William Clay Ford Sr., 80, who retired last month from his position on the board of directors, is now the family's last surviving member from that generation.
Mrs. Ford never had an operational role with Ford Motor Co. But she became one of the automaker's largest shareholders, with more than 13 million shares of Class B stock at the time of her death. Those shares, which represented 18 percent of the family's special Class B stock, will remain in the hands of the Ford family.
"Throughout her life, my aunt embodied the spirit of giving and family loyalty," CEO Bill Ford said in a note to employees. "She was an inspiration to all who knew her. Her love for Ford Motor Co. was unsurpassed, and all of us will mourn her passing."
Born in 1923, Mrs. Ford was married to Walter Buhl Ford II, who died in 1991. He was not related to the auto family. They had four children: Walter Buhl Ford III, Eleanor Clay Ford, Josephine Clay Ford and Alfred Ford.
A noted philanthropist, Mrs. Ford donated to several groups in the Detroit area, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, College for Creative Studies, Henry Ford Health System and Greenfield Village.
She was preceded in death by her husband. Survivors include her children, 13 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Josephine Ford at Henry Ford II's wedding in 1940.
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