Ed Morse, founder and chairman of the Ed Morse Automotive Group.

Ed Morse, founder and chairman of the Ed Morse Automotive Group.

BOCA RATON, FL - Ed Morse, founder and chairman of the Ed Morse Automotive Group in Florida, passed away on June 29, 2012. He was 91. The Ed Morse Automotive Group currently has 15 locations throughout Florida.

The Ed Morse Automotive Group was notable for its involvement in fleet sales over the years. The company’s Jack Evans, the long-time vice president of fleet operations who passed away in 2004, had the distinction of being one of the highest-volume fleet dealers in the country for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Dodge, Chrysler/Plymouth, and Toyota. Evans’ fleet customers were daily rental companies such as National, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Advantage, Dollar, and Thrifty. Another Morse dealer franchise, Bayview Cadillac, was one of the highest fleet volume Cadillac dealerships in the country, often ranked number one in fleet sales.

Morse began his career in the automotive business in 1946, when he and his father Alex started a fleet rental company, Morse Motors, with 20 cars. When the fleet reached 2,000 vehicles, the company merged with National Car Rental, where Ed Morse served as CEO. Morse bought his first dealership in 1961, Morse Holland Ford in Miami. In 1968, Morse began a relationship with General Motors that started with Ed Morse Chevrolet in Lauderhill and Ed Morse Bayview Cadillac in Fort Lauderdale, both notable for their involvement in fleet sales. For example, in 1992, Ed Morse Chevrolet sold 89,972 Chevrolet models to fleet buyers, a record for that year, which was more than twice the volume of the next closest Chevrolet dealership

During the 1980s, Morse added eight dealerships, and 20 more during the 1990s. Today, the Group consists of 15 dealerships that represent 17 automotive franchises and 10 different brands, domestic and import.

Before working in the automotive industry, Morse served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as navigator on a B-25 aircraft during World War II.Morse received the Distinguished Flying Cross award and the Oak Leaf with Clusters for his service during the war.

Morse supported many charities throughout south Florida, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association (the company has raised more than $1.3 million dollars through The Ed Morse annual MDA golf tournament), the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Dan Marino Foundation, Feeding America, Women in Distress, Toys for Tots, Humane Society of Broward County, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Morse is survived by his wife Carol; son Ted, daughter Betty Anne Beaver; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two surviving sisters.

Services for Ed Morse will be held at the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Auditorium on Friday, July 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Morse’s name to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and The Lupus Foundation of America.

Updated 7/3/2012, 10:37 a.m. Dateline corrected and photo added.