Former colleagues, politicians and friends paid respects to Lee Iacocca and his family Tuesday in suburban Detroit and remembered how the former Chrysler chairman and CEO provided strong leadership when it was needed most.
An engineer turned marketing genius, Iacocca conceived the Ford Mustang and stewarded Chrysler’s unprecedented U.S. rescue in the1980s. Iacocca, a former president of Ford Motor Co. before taking the reins at Chrysler in the late 1970s, died July 2 at the age of 94.
Former Michigan Governor James Blanchard, among those attending visitation services, said Iacocca was not simply a leader of the automotive industry but a “social philosopher,” with a strong influence in politics.
“He was quite a politician in his own way,” Blanchard recalled. “He helped save thousands of jobs in the United States, in Michigan and Detroit.”
Iacocca lobbied Congress and President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and 1980 for a $1.5 billion loan guarantee to save Chrysler. Blanchard helped sponsor…