Harold Gary Morse, developer of The Villages, dies

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) — Harold Gary Morse, the developer of one of the world's largest retirement communities, has died. He was 77.

Morse died Wednesday, according to The Villages Daily Sun, which received a statement from the family. No cause of death was given.

Morse took over a small mobile home park in central Florida from his father in 1983, when it had just 386 manufactured homes, a clubhouse and a few shuffleboard courts.

Census data says The Villages is one of the nation's fastest-growing communities.

He was also a prominent GOP donor who made his private jet available to the Republican Party of Florida. In 2012 The Villages gave a total of $350,000 to the state party and a political committee controlled by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.