Josephine Clay Ford, 81, a leading philanthropist who was the only granddaughter of automotive pioneer Henry Ford, died June 1, it was reported from Detroit.

Mrs. Ford's death was announced in an e-mail to Ford Motor Co. employees by company Chairman Bill Ford Jr., a nephew.

The e-mail did not say where Mrs. Ford, a resident of suburban Grosse Pointe Farms, died or give the cause of death.

The Detroit Institute of Arts, the Josephine Ford Cancer Center and the College for Creative Studies, an art and design college in Detroit, were among the recipients of millions of dollars from "Dody" Ford and the foundation she established with her late husband.

"What else is there for a girl who wasn't competitive to do but try to escape all that Ford stuff?" she once said.

In addition to charity work, she amassed a renowned art collection, including paintings by van Gogh, Renoir and Picasso.

She was born in 1923, the third of Edsel and Eleanor Ford's four children. Edsel was Henry Ford's only son.

Mrs. Ford's oldest brother, Henry Ford II, was chairman and chief executive of Ford Motor from 1945 until his retirement in 1979; her other brothers, Benson Ford and William Clay Ford, also inherited millions but did not hold key management roles with the automaker.

In 1943, she married a man coincidentally named Ford -- Walter Buhl Ford II, a noted interior and industrial designer who began his career with rival General Motors Corp.

He later was chairman and chief executive of Ford & Earl Design Associates, a commercial and interior design company. He died in 1991.

The couple had two sons and two daughters.

Josephine Clay Ford in 1940, at the wedding of brother Henry Ford II.