G5: 1918 William George Ford
William George Ford was born October 19, 1918. He was the youngest child of George & Ellen (Shiels) Ford. He attended Sherill elementary and McKenzie High School in Detroit. He graduated from high school in January 1937 and worked at various jobs including truck driving, window shade making and Jack-of-all-trades in a tailor shop. When WW2 started, William went to work in a war plant, Vickers Inc. In February, 1943, he was drafted into the US Army. He was discharged in November of the same year and returned to his war job.
On October 21, 1944 he married Jessie Janet Muirhead. Jessie, who was always called Janet, was born December 8, 1921, the daughter of James’ A and Margaret (Dodd) Muirhead of Traer, Iowa. She graduated from Traer High School, and attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before moving to Detroit in search of employment. She and William met through a mutual friend who was employed at the same place as Jessie.
When William’s war ,job terminated in June, 1946 he began work as an auto mechanic, working first in a general garage and then for Hudson dealers, while taking courses in Electronics. In 1950, the Korean conflict caused the war work to accelerate, and he went back to his old company, Vickers, Inc. He was promoted into the engineering laboratory and began work on a degree in Electrical Engineering. In 1955, William was hired as assistant chief engineer by a company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A year later, he was back in Detroit, working as a hydraulic engineer for Ford Motor Co. Engine Division. In 1970 he transferred to the Foundries Division, where he worked until his retirement. He and Janet lived in Detroit until 1962, when they purchased their present home in Livonia, Michigan. William was granted his University degree by Henry Ford Comm. College in 1976, at age 55. He remained with Ford Motor Co until retiring January 1, 1980.
William and Janet have always enjoyed travel. They have visited England and Scotland five times. On the first trip, in 1968, John and Margaret accompanied them. In 1972, Margaret went with them to Britain and they have been there three times since. During their visits to Britain, they have established contact with William’s Ford relatives in southern England and the “William Shiels” descendants in Scotland. They have also visited Janet’s relatives in southern Scotland.
Searching the Scottish records at St. Andrews House in Edinburgh has added much to their knowledge of their families. Since William’s retirement in 1980, they have visited all contiguous states except Rhode Island, and all Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, finding many more family members on the way.
Janet and William had a continuous hobby, namely genealogy. Tracing family tree is always guaranteed to be a challenge. William enjoys his computer which makes recording family information easy and efficient. Janet was historian of her branch of her mother’s family.
William and Janet celebrated their 50th (Golden) anniversary on October 22, 1994 by inviting approximately 85 friends and relatives for a dinner and an afternoon of fellowship in a banquet hall. John and Margaret gifted William a FAX machine, and Janet a topaz pendant on a gold chain. The FAX will expedite work for the church and be useful in many other ways. Janet cherished the pendant and it has been passed on to her daughter Margaret. They completed the first two and a half years of the second fifty before Janet’s passing into the presence of the Lord on July 3, 1997.
Bill continued to live in Livonia until his passing on August 28, 2007.
William & Janet had two children, John William and Margaret Ellen.
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