Kathleen DuRoss Ford, widow of Henry Ford II, dies at 80

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Kathleen DuRoss Ford, an accomplished photographer and former model who was married to Henry Ford II from 1980 until his death in 1987, died Friday in a Pittsburgh hospital. She was 80.

Ford's death was confirmed to The Detroit News Saturday by her sister, Sharon Amluxen of Grosse Pointe Shores.

She had been transported to Pittsburgh from her home in Palm Beach, Florida, to receive medical care, Amluxen said. Ford's cause of death was unclear, but she suffered from multiple health conditions and had undergone a double lung transplant in recent years, her sister said. 

Kathleen "Kate" Ford, right, attends the Susan G. Komen Perfect Pink Party with Frank Chopin with Sally James at Mar-a-Lago in 2015.

Ford was born on Feb. 11, 1940, in Belding, Michigan, to Charles and Hazel (Irwin) King, and spent some of her childhood in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, according to an obituary published in the Palm Beach Post.

She attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit, and worked as a model in the 1960s. 

"She was beautiful, she was talented, she was interested in all kinds and things, and loved people," Amluxen told The Detroit News on Saturday. "She was just very outgoing." 

Henry Ford II, the grandson of Henry Ford and himself the president and CEO of the automotive company, was her second husband.  Her first marriage, to David DuRoss, ended tragically. 

Kathleen DuRoss Ford

"Her first husband, she met when she was in high school," Amluxen said. "He was killed on I-94 and Second (Street in Detroit).

"He was coming back from band practice, and they hit a patch of ice, and hit one of the cement abutments. He was killed." 

Ford modeled, and for a time owned a discotheque in Downtown Detroit, Amluxen said. She was also an expert photographer who developed her own film in a dark room in her home, as well as a gifted violinist.   

She was married to Henry Ford II from 1980 until his death from pneumonia at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on September 29, 1987.

Amluxen said Ford will be greatly missed by family members and her many friends. 

Ford is survived by her daughters, Deborah DuRoss Guibord and Kimberly DuRoss, her granddaughters, Chelsea Guibord Cox and Tara DuRoss, grandson David Guibord, and a great-granddaughter, Quinn DuRoss Cox, and well as a niece, two nephews, a grand-niece and three grand-nephews.

Funeral arrangements are pending.