William Clay Ford Sr., who chaired Ford Motor Co.'s Design Committee for 32 years, died in March at 88. He became a board member in 1948 at the age of 23, chaired the powerful Finance Committee from 1987 to 1995 and retired as a director in 2005.
He spanned the Ford family's involvement in the automaker, from receiving driving lessons at age 10 from his grandfather, Henry Ford, to watching his son, William Clay Ford Jr., guide the company as CEO and later chairman.
But his most enduring impact came in two forms. First, in design: He created an iconic car, the Continental Mark II. The two-door was the most expensive car sold by the company at the time. It also lost money, and plans to expand the lineup were abandoned. Over his objections, the division was folded into Lincoln shortly after the company's initial public offering in 1956.
Secondly, he battled brother Henry Ford II and others to get the Ford family 40 percent voting control of the automaker at the time of the IPO, instead of a proposed 25 percent. He prevailed, helping preserve the family's influence ever since.