The Villages Developer, H. Gary Morse, dies at age 77

H. Gary Morse pictured here with his wife Sharon Morse during the groundbreaking of a Villages school.

H. Gary Morse, developer and mastermind behind the largest retirement community in Florida and possibly the U.S., died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Morse, used his incredible skill for marketing and his keen attention to detail to turn his father’s mobile home park into the beautiful retirement community, The Villages, which now covers a large are through Sumter, Marion and Lake counties.

Morse was survived by his three children – Mark morse, Jennifer Parr and Tracy Mathews – who have vowed to carry on his legacy.


Morse’s passing, although unfortunate, will not affect the growth of The Villages. The revitalization of the Sharon Morse Performing Arts Center (named for his wife) and the preparation for the new homes in The Villages of Fruitland Park are still in progress as well as the expansion and improvement of their latest square, Brownwood.

Morse was born December 19th, 1936 in Chicago to Harold and Mary Louise Schwartz. His parents divorced seven years after his birth at which time his mother moved back to Torch Lake, Michigan and remarried to Clifford Hudson Morse. After some time, Gary took his stepfather’s name becoming Gary Morse.

Morse decided to move to Florida in 1983 where his father was then the owner and operator of Orange Blossom Gardens mobile home park. Over the next thirty years, Morse slowly turned his father’s mobile home park into one of the United States most coveted retirement communities.

The Villages will greatly miss him.