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Dearborn Stamping Plant Employee Retires After Nearly 70 Years On Job

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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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Brett Foote

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.

View Comments

  • 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

  • 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 .

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

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