Mary Iacocca, the wife of Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee...

ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- Mary Iacocca, the wife of Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca, died Sunday morning after a long series of illnesses. She was 52.

Her death came just over two weeks after she was hospitalized. Mrs. Iacocca, who died at Beaumont Hosptial, suffered for decades from a combination of heart problems and diabetes and had suffered a stroke.


Mrs. Iacocca's funeral was scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Hugo of the Hills Church in Bloomfield Hills. Visiting hours would be at the Lynch and Sons Funeral Home in Clawson from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday.

Iacocca canceled a scheduled commencement appearance Saturday at Hillsdale College to be close to his wife. He also canceled a May 11 speaking engagement in Montreal for the same reason.

'She expired at 9:17 a.m. (Sunday),' a hospital spokesman said. The cause of death was not immediately determined. Hospital officials said family members were with Mrs. Iacocca at the time of her death.

The Iacoccas had been married 27 years. They had two daughters, Lia, a student at Albion College in southwest Michigan, and Kathryn, a Washington public relations account executive.

Mrs. Iacocca, the daughter of an Irish Catholic plumber, met her husband-to-be in 1948 at a Ford Motor Co. conference in Philadelphia. At the time, she was a receptionist in a Ford office in Chester, Pa. Her maiden name was Mary McCleary.


Iacocca is the son of an Italian immigrant who had a small car-rental business in Allentown, Pa. He joined Ford two years before meeting his wife and eventually climbed to the presidency of the company before he was fired in 1978 by Henry Ford II.

The firing reportedly hurt his wife deeply, though neither she nor her husband ever discussed the incident publically. Iacocca subsequently became chairman of Chrysler and helped lead the automaker back to a dazzling recovery from the brink of bankruptcy.

Mrs. Iacocca's poor health kept her from the Detroit social spotlight, which she easily could have dominated first as the wife of a president of Ford Motor Co. and later as the partner of the Chrysler chairman.

Iacocca, while aggressive in his fight to save the No. 3 automaker, preferred to stick close to home and was known as a devoted husband and father.

Mrs. Iacocca rarely accompanied her husband in public, preferring to stick close to their suburban Bloomfield Hills home where the family has lived for the past 20 years.

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