The American heiress and entrepreneur Martha Firestone Ford is well-known for her connection to Ford Motor Company, one of the biggest and most recognizable automakers in the world. Martha received a large share of the Ford family’s wealth as the widow of William Clay Ford Sr., including stock in the business.
Martha Firestone Ford’s riches are a combination of her business skills and her family’s lengthy history in the automotive industry. Because of her charitable activities and her essential role in managing some parts of the Ford Motor Company’s operations, many are curious about and impressed by her financial situation.
Martha Firestone Ford Net Worth
American entrepreneur Martha Firestone Ford is worth a whopping $800 million. William Clay Ford, the grandson of Henry Ford, was married to Martha Firestone Ford from 1947 until his passing in 2014.
However, marriage was not the source of all her money. Harvey Firestone, the founder of Firestone & Rubber Company, was her grandfather. She was also the NFL’s Detroit Lions’ chairwoman and previous owner.
Martha Firestone Ford’s Early Life and Education
Firestone was born on September 16, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents, Harvey S. Firestone Jr. and Elizabeth Parke Firestone, are her parents. The founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Harvey Samuel Firestone, and his wife, Idabelle Smith Firestone, are her grandfather and grandmother on her father’s side. By 1946, she had completed her studies at Vassar College.
When William Clay Ford paid $4.5 million to buy out every other shareholder in 1963, he became the only owner of the Detroit Lions. Following his passing, Martha was declared to inherit the team’s majority shareholding.
In addition to her four children, Martha Firestone Ford became the team’s principal owner and retained a small stake in the Lions. Accountability and her willingness to invest in the football squad were hallmarks of Martha’s ownership.
When public funds are generally utilized to support sports teams, Martha oversaw the privately funded $100 million reconstruction of Ford Field in 2017.
Martha also wasted little time in transforming the team after William’s death; the Lions finished 11-5 in her first season as owner but opened 1-7 the following year. Thus, she dismissed General Manager Martin Mayhew and longtime President Tom Lewand.
She appointed Rod Wood, CEO of Ford Estates financial and concierge services, to oversee Lion’s business operations a few weeks later. She demonstrated her willingness to change things up as needed with these two actions.
On June 23, 2020, Martha Firestone Ford announced her retirement as the Detroit Lions’ owner. Her daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp, took over as owner. Martha was one of just ten female owners of NFL teams at the conclusion of her career.
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Martha Firestone Ford’s Personal Life
According to the autobiography The Fords, Ford first met her husband, William Clay Ford, a Henry Ford grandson, at a lunch in New York City that was organized and attended by both of their mothers.
At the time, he was enrolled in St. Mary’s U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School while she was attending Vassar. On June 21, 1947, they tied the knot at Akron, Ohio’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Both families had amassed significant fortune by then, and many media sites had covered the match between the grandsons of two successful businessmen.
The Firestone-Ford wedding was dubbed “the biggest show Akron has seen in years” and “the biggest society wedding in Akron’s history” by the Akron Beacon Journal. Presents were given to the newlyweds by Mina Miller Edison, media mogul John S. Knight, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
2014 saw the death of her spouse. Martha Parke Morse (born 1948), Sheila Ford Hamp (born 1951), William Clay Ford, Jr. (born 1957), and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis (born 1961) were the couple’s four children.
In 2015, her son William held the position of chairman of Ford Motor Company’s board of directors. He is the vice chairman of the Detroit Lions and was previously Ford’s chief operational and executive officer. 11 great-grandchildren and 14 grandchildren make up Ford’s family.