What is Martha Firestone Ford’s Net Worth?
Martha Firestone Ford is an American businesswoman who has a net worth of $800 million. Martha Firestone Ford was married to Henry Ford’s grandson, William Clay Ford, from 1947 until his death in 2014. But not all of her wealth came from marriage. Her grandfather was Firestone and Rubber Company founder, Harvey Firestone. She’s also the former owner and chairwoman of the Detroit Lions of the NFL.
Martha Parke Firestone Ford was born on September 16, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Harvey S. Firestone Jr. and Elizabeth Parke Firestone. Martha’s paternal grandparents were Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. founder, Harvey Samuel Firestone, and his wife, Idabelle Smith Firestone.
Martha Firestone Ford graduated from Vassar College in 1946.
William Clay Ford became the sole owner of the Detroit Lions when he bought out all the other share owners in 1963 for $4.5 million. After his death, it was announced that the controlling interest of the team would be passed onto Martha. Martha Firestone Ford became the majority owner of the team, and each of her four children held small shares in the Lions also.
Martha’s ownership was defined by accountability and her willingness to spend on the football team. In a time when taxpayers’ dollars are typically used to aid sports teams, Martha led a privately financed $100 million renovation of Ford Field in 2017. And after William passed away, Martha didn’t wait long to reshape the franchise; In her first season as owner, the Lions went 11-5 but started the next year off 1-7. So she fired longtime president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew. A few weeks later, she hired Rod Wood, CEO of the Ford Estates financial and concierge firm, to run the Lions’ business operations. These two moves showed she wasn’t afraid to shake things up when necessary.
Martha Firestone Ford stepped down as the Detroit Lions’ owner on June 23, 2020, and she was succeeded by her daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp. By the end of Martha’s tenure, she was one of only 10 female NFL team owners.
Martha Firestone Ford first met her husband, William Clay Ford, in New York at a lunch arranged and attended by both of their mothers. They got married on June 21, 1947, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio. It was declared as “the biggest society wedding in Akron’s history” and “the biggest show Akron has seen in years” by the Akron Beacon Journal.
The couple had four children together: Martha Parke Morse, Sheila Firestone Hamp, William Clay Ford Jr., and Elizabeth Ford Kontulis. William died from pneumonia in 2014 just five days before his 89th birthday. Martha has 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Martha Firestone Ford is also on the board of the Henry Ford Health System.
The Ford family had long lived in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with Martha relocating to Grosse Pointe Woods following her marriage to William. Martha now resides in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, in the house she and William had built on Lake St. Clair in 1960.