November 13, 2014 — Many residents of the giant active adult community, The Villages, are mourning the loss of the legendary developer of their community, Gary Morse. Morse died on October 29 at the age of 77.
He moved to Central Florida in 1983 and starting selling real estate in the modest mobile home park owned by his father. Originally the homes here were mobile homes in a development called Orange Blossom Gardens. Over time the homes became a mixture of manufactured and stick built homes. Some years later, it is the largest active community in the world with over 100,000 residents, dozens of stores, and sprawling over 30 square miles and multiple counties. There are at least 33 golf courses, 2 village centers, and countless clubs and activities.
Morse built more homes and stores and had great success selling homes with the promise of free golf. The appeal worked and attracted 10s of 1000s of buyers from the Northeast and Midwest. Residents can drive their golf carts almost anywhere; in fact there are many 2 golf cart families.
One of Morse’s innovations was the creation of special taxing districts to fund infrastructure development with the use of tax free bonds. He became a billionaire and was a very important donor to Republican causes. In fact the Villages has become a mandatory political stop on the campaign trail for aspiring GOP candidates.
For more information see the topretirements review of the Villages as well as several articles we have written in the subject, such as “Why Len and Ann Think the Villages is the Best Place to Retire“. See also TheVillageRetirement.com.