June 2, 2005

Henry Ford’s only granddaughter dead at 81

Dearborn, Michigan – Josephine Ford, the only granddaughter of company founder Henry Ford and one of the most significant philanthropists in metropolitan Detroit history, died Wednesday at age 81.

Ford, known as “Dody” to friends and family, provided financial support to arts, education, cultural and health care institutions in Detroit, as well as support for Acadia National Park in Maine, a state where she maintained a summer home.

Ford was born in 1923 to Henry Ford’s only child Edsel and his wife Eleanor Ford, and was the third of Henry and Clara Ford’s four grandchildren. She became one of the Ford Motor Company’s largest shareholders, with more than 18 per cent of stock at the time of her death.

Among her major charitable donations were $20 million plus a Van Gogh painting valued at $40 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts; $25 million to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, with an additional $50 million as part of a matching gift program; and $10 million to the Henry Ford Health System for the Josephine Ford Cancer Center, one of the largest cancer centres in Michigan.

Connect with Autos.ca