Born on September 16, 1925, Martha Ford is an American entrepreneur and the widow of William Clay Ford, the grandson of Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company. Martha Ford, who inherited a sizable portion of the carmaker, has been heavily involved in the family business ventures.
Her wealth is directly linked to the Ford Motor Company’s success because she is a member of the Ford family. Although the Ford family remains private, making it difficult to determine exact net worth estimates, she is clearly well-off, considering the family’s longstanding association with one of the top automakers in the world.
Martha 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 Ford’s Biography
Firestone, the daughter of Harvey S. Firestone Jr. and Elizabeth Parke Firestone, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 16, 1925. Harvey Samuel Firestone, the founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., and his wife, Idabelle Smith Firestone, are her paternal grandparents. In 1946, she earned her degree from Vassar College.
Martha Ford’s Personal Life
It was at a luncheon organized by their mothers that Martha Firestone Ford and William Clay Ford first became husband and wife in New York. On June 21, 1947, they were joined in marriage at Akron, Ohio’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
The Akron Beacon Journal referred to it as “the biggest show Akron has seen in years” and “the biggest society wedding in Akron’s history.” Together, Martha Parke Morse, Sheila Firestone Hamp, William Clay Ford Jr., and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis were the couple’s four children.
In 2014, William passed away from pneumonia five days shy of his 89th birthday. There are 11 great-grandchildren and 14 grandchildren for Martha. Additionally, Martha Firestone Ford serves on the Henry Ford Health System board.
The Ford family had long resided in Grosse Pointe, Michigan; after marrying William, Martha moved to Grosse Pointe Woods. Currently, Martha lives in the 1960s-built home she and William constructed on Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.
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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. It was declared following his passing that Martha would 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 usually are 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.