Ford Authority

Dearborn Stamping Plant Employee Retires After Nearly 70 Years On Job

These days, it’s normal to see people “job hop,” or at the very least, find a new company to work for every couple of years. But there are still some dedicated, loyal workers out there in the world, including 89-year-old Willie Fulton, who recently retired from the Ford Dearborn Stamping Plant after 68 years with Ford Motor Company. As one might imagine, Fulton was the automaker’s longest-serving employee, having originally started his career there a year before the Thunderbird made its debut.

Fulton’s first position at The Blue Oval was as a core fitter at the Dearborn Iron Foundry at the age of 21 on July 15th, 1953. A couple of years later, he moved over to the Dearborn Assembly Plant before heading back to the foundry in 1960. Fulton then spent some time working at Michigan Casting – now known as the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant – before landing at the Dearborn Stamping plant, where he has remained since 1982.

Fulton credits his longevity to Ford’s shift to automated production processes, but it’s still obviously incredibly impressive that he’s been able to make it this long. “A lot of guys didn’t hold up,” he said. “I was lucky to be able to work 68 and a half years. A lot of guys, their bodies couldn’t take it. I’m almost 90 years old and I’m still in pretty good shape because of the change they made to automation. The lifting and the bending and that – automation helped 100 percent.”

Prior to his retirement, Fulton was responsible for ensuring Ford F-150 box floor pans made at the Dearborn Stamping Plant were properly aligned before they headed over to the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant for assembly. In his long career, he developed a reputation for perfection and a dedication to his craft. “Regardless of his age, he did not miss much at all,” said Gary Tuttle Jr., team leader, zone one assembly. “He would see things that nobody else could see and always made sure things were exactly where they were supposed to be and if they weren’t – I heard about it as soon as he knew about it.”

Amazingly enough, Fulton had no plans to retire until a recent bout with pneumonia, which prompted him to find something else to do with his time. “I’m going to find something to do,” he said. “I have to keep moving. I can’t be sitting around the house. Keeping busy keeps your mind sharp. Every day I was working, I had something different to think about.” Fulton is currently looking for a new hobby to occupy his time, which already includes playing around with model trains.

We’ll have more stories like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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    Wow. Congratulations, Mr. Fulton. What a fine example of work ethic, responsibility, and dedication. God Bless you. Enjoy your retirement and whatever endeavor you choose to pursue. RCS

    1. JohnTaurus

      Couldn’t have said it better. I’m sure Ford wishes they had many more like him.

  2. Ford Owner

    Now we know that every F-150 truck owner place their feet on his stampings!

    1. The best never rest

      The ones made in KC go to Dearborn for stamping?

  3. David L. Ratliff

    Congratulations Mr Fulton you are to be admired for your work & dedication . Made in the U.S.A. your Mom & Dad are smiling down on you .

  4. Roger L. Napue

    Congratulations, Mr Fulton! Thank you for 70 years of dedicated service, work ethic, character and integrity. May you continue a fruitful life. Bless you, my friend. You are…built Ford tough!

  5. Bill Mentlick

    The very best to you Willie. You’ll find something to do if you have’nt already. I have a collection of various videos that I have found on the web of different Ford assembly plants, from the early model T’s to the late F150’s. I would love to sit down with you and talk about some of the times you spent at Ford. And I would bet that you would enjoy it more than I. But that is wishful thinking on my part because you would probably never sit down long enough for me to listen to you. So good luck Willie to you and whatever you do next.

  6. Ken Bar

    Mr Fulton you are a inspiration.

  7. robert c. andrews

    my name is Bobby Andrews I retired from Dearborn Stamping Plant n 2007over 40 yrs. they payed me $35,000 2 retire I told Willie it’s time 2 retire he said not me he wasn’t ready I remember when he got 50 or 60 yrs. os service they gave him a bike 2 ride around the plant they should have gave him a car. Mr. Willie good luck on your retirement good health God speed I love you friend Bobby Andrews

  8. William Berry

    You Willie Fulton, were blessed as was I, to have found Ford early in life. My first association was when I was accepted in the HENRY FORD TRADE SCHOOL in 1947 at age 14. HFTS was an all male , privately funded, high school equivalent, way to teach the FORD way to manufacture. It originated at the Highland Park plant famous for building model ” Ts” It was divided into three sections M, T, & W. Students had academic classes on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday depending on which section they were assigned to. The rest of the week they learned about the FORD way to manufacture. When I attended the academic portion was relocated to Camp Legion where the Ford World Headquarters stands today, and manufacturing was in the Rouge Plant “B” building. It still had three sections and students spent one week at Camp Legion and two weeks at the “B” building . I was in section “W”. It was tough, lots of homework since you only had academics one out of three weeks. We only had three weeks off in the summer versus 10to12 for Public Schools. We also attended school eight hours a day versus 5 or 6 at public school. Transportation was also time consuming. I took five buses each way to school. At one point I wanted to give it up and return to Public School, but fortunately my father talked me out of it. I graduated in 1950 and enlisted in the Air Force to avoid being drafted and sent to Korea. Upon my Air Force discharge I was welcomed back to Ford as an apprentice Model Maker. The rest of my career was spent in various Ford facilities, retireing in 1998 after 44 years. Not to be overlooked was my marriage to JOAN BETTY FORD. She is not close to the famous FORD family but has been by my side for 65 years. When I think about it I belive there is FORD BLUE in my veins.


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