Henry Ford II

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Henry Ford II "was a member of the board of Ford Motor Company and chairman of the Finance Committee until his death on Sept. 29, 1987. He had been active since 1940 in the worldwide corporation founded by his grandfather in 1903. He resigned as chief executive officer on Oct. 1, 1979, as chairman of the board March 13, 1980, and as an officer and employee Oct. 1, 1982...

"Mr. Ford became president of Ford Motor Company on Sept. 21, 1945, on the retirement of his grandfather, Henry Ford.

"He was elected chairman of the board and served in the dual role of president and chairman from July 13, 1960, when Ernest R. Breech retired as chairman, until Nov. 9 of the same year when Robert S. McNamara was elected president. When Mr. McNamara left the company on Jan. 3, 1961, to become Secretary of Defense in the cabinet of President Kennedy, Mr. Ford again assumed the dual role until April 12, 1961, when John Dykstra was elected president...

"In addition to his company responsibilities, Henry Ford II was active in civic and public affairs. He was chairman of the board of trustees of Henry Ford Health Corp., a graduate member of The Business Council and a trustee of The Edison Institute. He was a director of Sotheby's Holdings, Inc., and a member of the Advisory Board of Trustees of St. Mary's Hospital, West Palm Beach, Fla. He was instrumental in the establishment in 1949 of Detroit's United Foundation, the forerunner of unified fund-raising agencies for health and community service activities throughout the country. In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him alternate U.S. delegate to the Eighth General Assembly of the United Nations.

"Mr. Ford was chairman of the trustees of the Ford Foundation from June 1943 until May 1956 and a member of the board of trustees until December 1976. The Ford Foundation was established in 1936 with an irrevocable grant of non-voting Ford Motor Company stock from Mr. Ford's father and grandfather. The Foundation no longer owns Ford stock...

"In January 1968, Mr. Ford was appointed by President Johnson as the first chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen, a group of U.S. business leaders seeking productive jobs for hard-core unemployed and meaningful summer jobs for disadvantaged young people. He held that post until February 1969.

"At the invitation of President Nixon, Mr. Ford served as chairman of the board of the National Center for Voluntary Action - a non-profit, non-partisan organization established to stimulate and support private voluntary actions to help solve the problems of people and their communities - from April 1970 to February 1972.

"He was national chairman of the Crusade for Freedom in 1952, and chairman of the board of trustees of the American Heritage Foundation, sponsoring organization for the Crusade, from 1953 to 1955. He remained on the board of the Crusade until May 1956.

"In 1979, Mr. Ford served as national chairman of the Freedom Hall Campaign to construct the library, exhibition hall and classrooms of The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Social Change in Atlanta...

"Mr. Ford received many honors including the Gold Medal, Poor Richard Club of Philadelphia, 1954; the Voice of Business Award, Society of Business Managing Editors, 1955; the Gold Medal, Wharton School Alumni Society, University of Pennsylvania, 1956; the Public Service Award, Advertising Council, 1961, Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland, 1962; Good American Award of the Chicago Committee of 100, 1963; Commandeur do l 'Ordre de la Couronne of Belgium, 1964; Grand Cross of the Royal Crown of Yugoslavia, 1964; Knight of the Grand Cross of Merit of the Italian Republic, 1966, the Medal of Freedom from President Johnson in 1969; Annual Business Statesman Award, Harvard Business School Club of New York, 1971; President's Cabinet Award Medal, University of Detroit, 1972; Commandeur of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, French Republic, 1973; Automotive Industries Magazine Career Achievement Award, 1973; Builder of Detroit Award, Wayne State University, 1973; Alexis de Tocqueville Award, The United Way of America, 1975; Man of the Year Award, Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, 1975; Technology for Peace Award of the American Technion Society; the Federal Republic of Germany's highest civilian award - The Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit and the United Jewish Appeal Humanitarian Award - in 1979. He received the annual A. Philip Randolph Award of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in 1980. He was appointed "Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" for his years of service to British industry by the Queen of England of 1982. In 1983, he received the Business Statesman Award from Detroit's Harvard Business School Club. The Wharton Entrepreneurial Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, presented him with the Award of Merit in 1985...

"He married the former Anne McDonnell of New York on July 13, 1940 (divorced in 1964), and had two daughters, Charlotte and Anne, and a son, Edsel Bryant Ford II. Mr. Ford married the former Maria Cristina Vettore Austin in 1965 (divorced 1980). He married Kathleen DuRoss in October 1980. He was preceded in death by his brother, Benson, on July 27, 1978. He also is survived by his brother William Clay, and sister, Mrs. Walter B. Ford II." [1]

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  1. Henry Ford II, Ford Motor Company, accessed October 15, 2008.