William Clay Ford, the last of John Ford’s grandchildren, passed away at the age of 88 on Sunday from pneumonia. He had owned the Detroit Lions since 1964 and was among the longest-tenured owners in the professional sports world. News of Ford’s passing was met with kind words and some interesting memories from those close to him.
— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) March 10, 2014
In this piece, Sanders had the following to say…
He was a cheerful owner, you know, upbeat, always positive.
I have a lot of memories, but when I think of him I just think of a man that was very fair and enjoyed people and enjoyed people that had the same desires that he had. Most of those are centered around the Detroit Lions organization.
Sad to hear loss of William Clay Ford, Sr. Rarely came to league meetings but when he did had a quiet and respected presence.
— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) March 9, 2014
According to ESPN, Ford bought the Lions for $4.5 million in 1963 and the organization is now valued at about $900 million.
Despite the success he had in life and the respect he gained from those around the football world, Ford’s tenure as the Lions owner didn’t see a lot of on-field success. They have yet to make a Super Bowl appearance and only saw action in 10 postseason games during his half-century long span as team owner.
Photo: Detroit Free Press