In behalf of Ford employees and retirees on the West Coast, please accept our thanks for Ted Thackrey's story (Part I, Sept. 30), on the life of Henry Ford II.
By coincidence, my 35 years with Ford parallel his 35 years at the helm of Ford Motor Co. His courageous firing of Harry Bennett (his grandfather's adviser who presided over a secret police force set up to spy on Ford employees) came just five days before I was hired in at the old Long Beach assembly plant at the end of World War II.
The "old timers" were really proud of young Henry as the abuses of Bennett were legend. One retiree related to me how he was summarily fired on the spot by a Bennett stooge in 1932 for walking with empty arms to the tool crib! His boss had him back to work the next day. Maintenance crews told of numerous trips from Long Beach to work on his private estate in Palm Springs painting and doing other jobs, including plumbing to solar heat his swimming pool.
No plant manager who wanted to keep his job dared ignore a request from Bennett. Young Henry changed all that to benefit workers as well as plant managers and the company.