The 11 Directors of the Henry Ford Heritage Association Board are elected by the members for a 2 year term. The HFHA Board is responsible to make decisions for the day to day operation of the association that are consistent with our mission to:
"Foster interest in the life and accomplishments of Henry Ford, and to preserve and interpret the landmarks associated with his life and family."
Todd Bryan is the Vice President of the Henry Ford Heritage Association, and recently became chairman of its speaker’s bureau. His day job is an engineering supervisor at Ford Motor Company where he has been employed for 25 years. He is married to his beautiful wife Victoria (another great woman like Clara Ford!) and they have two adult children, Martha and Will.
Todd has a lifelong passion for history, especially that of American history in general and automotive history in particular. For fun, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, going to car and motorcycles races, and reading history. His most recent project is the HFHA Happenings e-newsletter which is now in its second year. A complement to their award-winning newsletter the Ford Legend, this new electronic newsletter keeps its readers up to date with all of the exciting things going on with HFHA and its partners.
Bob Degenhart was born and raised is Chicago and still lives there today. Bob’s grandfather was a “Red Cap” at LaSallie St. Station in Chicago who kept a journal of Hollywood stars who would travel on trains as the 20th Century Limited of the New York Central System. His father was also a railroad man as he was the Chief of the Tariff Bureau for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend R.R. and his mother was a “Harvey Girl” not on the SantaFe, but the purchasing Department.
When Bob was only 17 years old he worked for the Meinhardt Diamond Tool Company handling the mail. He has worked for this company for over 50 years and 14 years ago he bought the company. In the 1970’s he enrolled in the auto program at Oakton University in Des Plaines, Illinois and thus began his admiration of the history the American Automobile Industry and its founders and leaders.
Henry Ford and W.C. Durant are his heroes. Bob belongs to many automotive organizations including of Course the Henry Ford heritage Association and the Sloan in Flint Michigan. Bob is also an original donor to the Piquette Plant Preservation Project back in 1999.
Mark enjoys more than just a passing interest in Ford history. He has a direct family connection, being the great-great nephew of Clara Bryant Ford. Mark was born in Dearborn and graduated from Dearborn High School in 1985. He graduated from Ferris State University in 1990 and married his wife Anne in 1993.
Mark enjoyed growing up around Fair Lane, the home of Henry and Clara Ford, attending the annual Christmas brunch, special event and learning to drive Fair Lane’s Model T.
Wanting to learn more about his family Mark joined the Henry Ford Heritage Association in 2000 and in 2005 was elected to the Board. In 2007 the Board was looking for new leadership and Mark was asked to take over as Treasurer, the position he still holds today. Currently he is the Chief Operating Officer, on the Newsletter committee, By-Laws & Policies committee, Speakers Bureau and much more.
In 2013 Mark was the HFHA representative with the Henry Ford 150th Birthday celebration committee. This was a very important time for the Henry Ford Heritage Association because this allowed all of the Ford groups to work together for a common goal. Mark worked with the design of the Henry Ford 150 web site www.henryford150.com and the redesign of the Henry Ford Heritage Association’s web site www.hfha.org. Mark was also the HFHA representative on the Clara Bryant Ford 150th Birthday committee in 2016.
Henry Ford once said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Mark is looking forward to learning more about his family every day, even after he is 80.
Richard has lived in the greater Detroit area for most of his life. Hamtramck, Detroit, Shelby Township, River Rouge, Grosse Isle, Farmington, Westland and in and out of Dearborn (5 times). Currently he lives in Dearborn at Henry Ford Village. He also spent some time in Maryland, Colorado, Kentucky and Viet Nam.
Richard first became aware of Henry Ford when his parents bought a new 49 Ford. He went to work for Ford Motor Company in 1962 starting at a parts depot and retired 40 years later from the Rouge Plant as a maintenance supervisor.
His interest in Henry Ford grew and like his wife he became a tour guide at Fair Lane. Upon retiring, he volunteered his time working at The Henry Ford Museum and eventually went to work part time there by becoming a master presenter at the Ford Rouge Plant.
Richard has been a member of Henry Ford Heritage Association for years serving as director on the board and a member of the speaker’s bureu. On August 1st 2016 he became president of HFHA
Ruth was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan and moved to Detroit at the age of 18. After attending Detroit Business Institute she worked at J. L. Hudson’s and in 1972 married and had 2 sons Mark and Kevin. After her sons became teens, she attended Detroit College of Business earning an Associates Degree and a Bachelors in Business.
Ruth became an instructor for Detroit Business Institute and then worked for National Teck Team, teaching computers to Ford employees while working at the Ford Design Center. She joined the Thunderbird Ski Club serving as Membership Co-Chairman and Golf Co-Chairman.
In 1992 she had an accident and was unable to return to work.
Since then she volunteered time to The Henry Ford Museum (7500+ hours), the Henry Ford Estate (tour guide for 20 years), 14 years with the Ford Senior Players Golf Tournament, Divorce Recovery workshop leader at Christ the King Church, Secretary of the Dearborn Lions Club and Secretary of the Detroit Historical Memorial Society. She also served on the resident council of Henry Ford Village where she resides with her husband Richard.
Currently she is Vice President of the Detroit Historical Memorial Society, a speaker for the Henry Ford Heritage Association as well as a current board member.
I was born and raised in the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights area with no plans to go anywhere soon. I think this is the best place to live in the U.S. I graduated from Riverside High School in 1970 and then Henry Ford Community College with an associate degree in automotive technology. I have been working as a engineering/mechanical technician for various companies in the Detroit area for the past 36 years. The first being Holley carburetor and the latest Freudenberg-NOK. I’ve been lucky in that time, never being without a job and truly enjoying what I do.
Ever since being able to read I been fascinated by stories of Henry Ford and his life. I like the idea of helping others find that same fascination
with Henry Ford and his life.
I enjoy working on and restoring classic automobiles (especially Fords). My current project is a 1963 Ford Ranchero.
Having no children of my own so I keep busy with my nephew’s and niece’s from my 7 brothers and sisters.
Ed Maurus has lived in Dearborn in the same house for 60 years. Ed has been a HFHA Board member since 2011. He is also the President of the Dearborn Historical Society, VP of Programming of the Friends of the Library Dearborn, VP of Programming for the Dearborn Genealogy Society, was Chairman of the Board of the Dearborn Village Credit Union for 20 years, and a Board member of the Detroit Chapter of the Laurel & Hardy Club.
Julie grew up in Dearborn and went to Henry Ford Elementary, graduated from Fordson High School and went to Henry Ford Community College. She has always been enamored with Mr. Ford, he truly was a genius. Her first house was the rectory for sacred heart church that Mrs. Ford built, in fact she still owns it today. She spent 22 years at The Dearborn Inn as their Concierge and was truly the best job she ever had. She has met all the Ford Family at one time or another at the Inn and enjoyed telling guests about Henry and Clara, her favorite was how the Martha Mary Chapel got named. She met a gentleman that was staying at the Dearborn Inn about 12 years ago and he mentioned that he was going to Henry Ford’s Birthday Party at Fair Lane and she knew right then she wanted to be part of the Henry Ford Heritage Assn.
Born in Detroit Michigan, 1944
Personal: Oldest of nine children and first-born child of two Ford employees. Happily married to Alice Jean [Christie] Maher for 34 years. Having no children, we are blessed with thirty grand nieces and nephews (with three more on the way by this year’s end).
Education: Attended Detroit grade school and high school, Highland Park Community College, Ferris State College graduated with B.S. in Pharmacy, Central Michigan University, Master’sdegreein Public administration, Wayne State University, Postgraduate: Gerontology.
Career: Registered Pharmacist, 1971, Henry Ford Hospital, Supervisor, Drug Purchasing, and Distribution, Registered Pharmacy Preceptor, Adjunct Professor Ferris State University, Wayne State University, University of Michigan, in the field training Pharmacy Interns, Instructor, Henry Ford Community College, teaching/training Pharmacy technicians, John D. Dingell VA Medical Center 30 years’ service retired Chief, Pharmacy Service.
Hobbies: Own, maintain 40 acre hobby farm in Vassar, MI. Collect, restore, maintain and show13 Ford and Fordson Tractors along with various Ford implements, maintain and show 1916 Model T Ford, gardening woodworking, metal working, American history buff with emphasis on Ford history.
Volunteerism: Dearborn Heights Human Services, board member, Piquette Ford Plant, Window Team, The Henry Ford, volunteer, Royal Oak Church, counting, depositing collections, helping with various church activities.
Memberships: South Eastern Michigan Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Early Engine Club (Dearborn) Vice president, Early Ford V-8 Foundation, Birmingham Senior Men’s club, Military Vehicle Preservation Association, two Ford Tractor Clubs, Piquette T’s, The Henry Ford, Henry Ford Heritage Association, Legacy member.
Bill was born in Dearborn Michigan and went to St. Alphonsus High School. He met his wife Phyllis at the Ford Rouge Office Building and they have been married for over 45 years. Bill went through a Tool & Die apprenticeship at Kelsey Hayes then worked for the Ford Motor Company for over 30 years. They became HFHA members in 2003 and Life Members in 2017. In 2010 both Phyllis and Bill became more involved as volunteers and help with the mailings and recruiting at Old Car Festival and Motor Musters.
Jerry Franchina grew up on the east side of Detroit practically in the shadows of Dodge Main. Although he never worked in the automotive industry, his passion for Ford and automotive history was seeded by stories he had heard from family members about his great-grandfather, grandfather and other family members who worked at the Ford Highland Park and Rouge plants.
Jerry is a graduate of Wayne State University with a B.S. in Pharmacy and has an MBA from
the University of Detroit. He retired in 2019 after working 42 + years in hospital and corporate pharmacy practice in the Metro Detroit Area.
Jerry and his wife Livia have been married for 43 + years. She grew up in Dearborn and also had many relatives who worked at the Rouge. Sharing the same passion for Henry Ford, she frequently volunteers for the HFHA. They have two grown sons who are history buffs and are also interested in all things related to Henry Ford.
Jerry is the newest member of the HFHA speaker’s bureau and is currently a Historic Presenter at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour where he loves talking with visitors about Henry Ford, his life, and his legacy.
Edsel Ford II has said of Mike Skinner, “He knows every tree that my great grandfather ever planted.” Mike is the ultimate “Fordophile” He is past President of the Dearborn Historical Society and the Grosse Pointe Historical Society and a founding member of the Henry Ford Heritage Association.
Since 1978 Mike has been a Volunteer tour guide at Henry Ford’s – Fair Lane Estate. Mike is Human Resources Director for Production Tool Supply Co. of Warren Michigan.
Richard (Dick) Folsom was raised in Livonia, Michigan. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Eastern Michigan University in 1978. While in college he worked at the Edison Institute as a Greenfield Village guide. There he met fellow guide, John Berger. This meeting and their interest in Henry Ford led both to become guides at the Henry Ford Estate.
In addition to giving tours, Dick conducted interviews with over a dozen relatives and acquaintances of Henry and Clara Ford for the Estate. These conversations, which were audio and videotaped and transcribed for inclusion in the Edison Institute Archives, have added significant details to our knowledge of the life of Mr. and Mrs. Ford.
Additionally, Dick has been friends with many more people who knew Henry Ford. He was President of the Henry Ford Heritage Association for eight years, leading the association from a small group with less than 100 members, mainly in the Detroit area, to a worldwide organization with over 1100 members. He owns a extensive collection of Ford memorabilia and books. This collection contains many one of a kind items.
Dick and his wife, Sheila, have two children, Rebecca and Patrick. Dick is an HFHA Director. Note: On December 31 , 1999, Dick took the children to visit Mr. Ford’s grave “so that they would be the last people to visit Mr. Ford in the 20th century.” What a Fordophile!
A native of St. Louis Missouri, Joe Adams has always been an avid fan of automobiles, and at age 3 was able to identify the make and model of any car that passed by. Joe’s interest in Ford Motor Company, and in particular of Henry Ford, was spurred by his Grandfathers. One would drive only a Ford, the other worked for Ford in the 30’s. A history buff, Joe hopes to share the importance of Henry Ford in American culture and help preserve the Ford legacy!
Joe is an Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 1104, and a member at First United Methodist Dearborn. A proud father of four, Joe resides in Dearborn with his wife, their three children and their rescue Pit Bull, Boston!
Frank Gasiorek was a past member of the HFHA as program chair. In addition Frank was president of the Dearborn Historical Society. Recently Frank has been involved as a trainer of new docents at Henry Ford Estate – Fair Lane.
Both of Steven Stanford’s grandfathers regaled him from a young age with stories
about working for the Ford Motor Company and their encounters with Henry Ford
and his lieutenants. These stories sparked a lifelong interest in everything Ford and
for a number of years Steve presented talks and programs associated with Henry Ford
to audiences throughout Michigan and beyond. During this time, he wrote articles for
The Ford Legend and for a while served on the newsletter committee. Upon
retirement from a career in local government, Steve and his wife Becky moved to
Ohio in 2016 where he is now employed by the WACO Air Museum and Learning
Center in Troy, Ohio, where he works as an Associate. WACO (rhymes with taco)
was America’s number one manufacturer of civilian aircraft in the 1920’s and 1930’s
and designed the CG-4A gliders built by the Ford Motor Company during WWII.