DETROIT -- William Clay Ford, the last surviving grandchild of automotive pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, has died. He was 88. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement Sunday that Ford died of pneumonia at his home in Grosse Pointe, Mich. Ford helped steer the family business for more than five decades. He bought one of his own, the NFL franchise in the Motor City, a half-century ago. He served as an employee and board member of the automaker for more than half of its 100-year history. "My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community," William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and Lions vice chairman, said in a statement. "He also was a wonderful family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, yet he will continue to inspire us all." Ford was regarded as a dignified man by the select few who seemed to know him well. To the masses in Detroit, he was simply the owner of the Lions who struggled to achieve success on the field despite showing his passion for winning by spending money on free agents, coaches, executives and facilities. Fords first full season leading the Lions was in 1964, seven years after the franchise won the NFL title. The lone playoff victory he enjoyed was in 1992. The Lions are the only team to go 0-16 in a season, hitting rock bottom in 2008. After an 11-year drought, the Lions improved enough to make the playoffs in 2011 only to lose a combined 21 games over the next two seasons. "No owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions," Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement released by the team. "Those of us who had the opportunity to work for Mr. Ford knew of his unyielding passion for his family, the Lions and the city of Detroit. His leadership, integrity, kindness, humility and good humour were matched only by his desire to bring a Super Bowl championship to the Lions and to our community. "Each of us in the organization will continue to relentlessly pursue that goal in his honour." Born into an automotive fortune in 1925 bearing what was already a household name, Ford was 23 when he joined the Ford Motor Co. board of directors in 1948, one year after the death of his grandfather, Henry Ford. He maintained as low a profile as his name would allow, serving on various executive committees and spearheading the design, development and introduction of the Continental Mark II in 1956. He was elected a Ford vice chairman in 1980 and retired with that title in 1989. Ford remained a company director until 2005, later taking the title of director emeritus. "Mr. Ford had a profound impact on Ford Motor Company," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement. "The company extends its deepest sympathies to the many members of the extended Ford family at this difficult time. While we mourn Mr. Fords death, we also are grateful for his many contributions to the company and the auto industry." He helped institutionalize the practice of professional management atop the company that began with the naming of Philip Caldwell as Ford CEO in 1979 and as Ford chairman in March 1980, without relinquishing the Ford familys control. As a board member, Ford helped bring the company back under his familys control in 2001, when the directors ousted former CEO Jacques Nasser in favour of William Clay Ford Jr. The youngest of Edsel B. Fords four children, Ford Sr. was first elected to the Ford Motor Co. board in June 1948. He rarely spoke publicly but was reflective during the companys centennial year in 2003. At the annual meeting, he told stories about his grandfather teaching him to drive at age 10, and of being taken for his first airplane ride in a Ford Tri-Motor by Charles Lindbergh. "I just want you to know that we have tremendous pride in the Ford name," he told the shareholders more than a decade ago. "We have a spirit of working together, and we have a passion for cars. And we also have a great desire to see the Ford name in the forefront of world transportation." Ford always kept the Lions close to his heart. He knew how much the team meant to people who lived in or grew up in Michigan. "I think sports are a wonderful diversion," Ford told The Detroit News in 1980. "People can relate to sports very easily. Its a quick study." But while each of the Motor Citys other three professional franchises -- the Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers -- won at least one championship, the Lions were synonymous with losing under Ford. He seemed to lead the Lions with a light touch, leaving most decisions up to administrators such as Russ Thomas, Chuck Schmidt, Matt Millen and current general manager Martin Mayhew. Even though the franchise rarely produced a successful product, the stands are usually filled with fans desperate to witness a winner. "Detroit, and Im not blowing smoke at anybody, is probably the greatest fan sports town in the country," Ford told The News in 1980, the year after a 2-14 team set a franchise attendance record. "Theyll support anything." Ford moved the club from Tiger Stadium in Detroit to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975 before bringing his team back downtown. Ford Field -- a spectacular 65,000-seat, $315 million indoor stadium -- opened in 2002 that, coupled with a state-of-the-art team headquarters in nearby Allen Park, gave the Lions the best facilities money could buy. But a blueprint for consistently winning was elusive. From Fords first season as team owner to his last, the Lions won 310 games, lost 441 and tied 13. Ford was married to the former Martha Parke Firestone, an heiress to the Akron, Ohio, rubber fortune. Her grandfather, Harvey Firestone, was a close friend of Henry Ford. They had three daughters, a son, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be private. Cheap Adidas NHL Jerseys . Even if he is shooting 38 per cent from the field overall this season, the Utah Jazz rookie always feels like his final shot is going in. Cheap Detroit Red Wings Jerseys . Sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun the international tournament will likely return in September 2016 rather than 2015. http://www.cheapredwingsjerseys.com/ . Schaub will start for an injured Case Keenum and try to help the Texans end a 12-game skid. Schaubs last action in Houston came when he took over late in a game against Oakland on Nov. 17 as Keenum was struggling. Cheap Red Wings Jerseys China . has left the San Jose Sharks to become the Boston Bruins director of player personnel. Wholesale Red Wings Jerseys . Rudy Gay made the tying basket in regulation and a 3-pointer in overtime that gave Sacramento the lead for good, and Fredette scored a career-high 24 points to help the Kings beat the Knicks 106-101 on Wednesday night.NEW YORK -- Taylor Teagarden had no idea how much of a relief his grand slam was to the scuffling New York Mets until his teammates were congratulating him for the rare hit with the bases loaded. Teagarden homered in his Mets debut, Daniel Murphy had a two-run shot and New York beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 Tuesday night to snap a six-game skid. "If I could help get the monkey off the back, whatever it takes," Teagarden said. Called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Sunday to replace demoted catcher Travis dArnaud, Teagarden connected for his second career slam after Marco Estrada walked the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The 30-year-old Teagarden had struck out in his first two at-bats. He said his teammates let him know just how poorly theyve done with the bases loaded after he returned to the dugout. Playing in front of a season-low Citi Field crowd of 20,206 that booed Ryan Braun in each of his four plate appearances, the Mets improved to 11 for 64 (.172) with the sacks full. "He didnt know you werent supposed to get a hit," manager Terry Collins said with a big grin. Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-0) pitched six effective innings and Murphy homered off Estrada in the third. Before the game, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Collins job is secure after the team returned from a 4-7 road trip a season-worst seven games under .500. Outhit 6-5, the Mets scored their most runs in 16 home games since a 7-6 loss in 10 innings to Miami on April 26. Matsuzaka was hit high on the outside of his right thigh by a line drive in the sixth. Making his third start of the year, the right-hander recovered to throw out Carlos Gomez and finished the inning. Collins said the plan was to send Matsuzaka out for the start of the seventh because he was at 100 pitches. "Pitch-count wise I think I wouldve been able to go into the next inning fine," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "Right now its not too bad, but it should start swelling I think by tomorrow, so well see what happens." Estrada (5-3) has given up a major league-worst 20 homers this season, and both long balls Tuesday followed walkss.dddddddddddd "I threw a lot of close pitches. Guys just laid off of them," Estrada said. "I dont understand why Im walking so many guys right now. Ive got to figure this out now because its getting out of hand." Murphy connected after Ruben Tejada walked with two outs in the third, the ball just clearing the right field wall for a 2-0 lead. Murphy, who spent his off day Monday participating in a White House summit on working families, has five homers. The Brewers cut the lead in half in the fourth after Khris Davis was hit by a pitch from Matsuzaka. Running on a full-count pitch to Lyle Overbay, Davis scored from first when Overbay hit a sharp grounder inside first base for a run-scoring double. Matsuzaka, however, kept the NL Central leaders in check. He allowed three hits and three walks, striking out five. Estrada walked David Wright and Curtis Granderson with one out in the sixth. After Chris Young struck out, Lucas Duda walked to load the bases. Teagardens drive hit off the top of the wall down the right field line and ricocheted into the seats for his first slam since 2008 with Texas. "I think the at-bats leading up were really good, too," Murphy said. Gomez, traded by the Mets to Minnesota as part of the deal that brought Johan Santana to New York in February 2008, had an RBI double in the eighth off Jeurys Familia. NOTES: Mets RHP Matt Harvey (Tommy John surgery) was scheduled to throw off a slope but that was pushed back. Alderson said Harvey is doing well. The schedule was changed because the teams doctors didnt want Harvey pitching too soon. ... Mets RHP Gonzalez Germen (virus and abscess) was activated from the 15-day DL after the game. LHP Scott Rice was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... OF Eric Young Jr. (hamstring) has started running, but not at full speed. He has also been hitting. ... Brewers RHP Tyler Thornburg (elbow soreness) had an MRI. Manager Ron Roenicke said the team is waiting for a radiologist to examine the results before revealing anything. He did say its not an injury that would require Tommy John surgery. 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