March 7, 2018 – “It is with a heavy heart that we share that William J. Pulte (Bill), the anonymous philanthropist, family man, and founder of PulteGroup (PHM) passed away today after 85 great years of helping people in need and building highly successful businesses. We are deeply saddened by his passing, but we rejoice and celebrate in his life of charity and family,” said William Pulte’s grandson, Bill Pulte.
A family spokesperson furthered, “Bill Pulte constructed his first home at age 18 in 1950 and then founded, built, and managed Pulte Homes to become the largest homebuilder in the United States, ultimately building over 600,000 homes.”
“We are all very sad that Bill has passed, but we take comfort in the fact that we have been planning this transition for some time now. In fact, Bill Pulte was very open that he wanted the family to continue in his footsteps managing the businesses and philanthropies with the same passion and focus,” said a family spokesperson.
Bill is survived by his wife, Karen, his 13 children, his 27 grandchildren, and his 3 great-grandchildren.
The Anonymous Giver
The business world knew William Pulte as a brilliant homebuilder and businessman, but his real gift was his passion of giving to others, especially those most in need. He anonymously donated tens of millions of dollars to charities throughout his lifetime.
The Family Man
William Pulte is remembered as a loving husband, an engaged father of 14, grandfather of 27, and great-grandfather of 3.
From his humble roots as an Ann Arbor and Detroit native, Bill set the course for an amazing 60-year career in which he founded and grew Pulte Homes into one of the nation’s premier building companies.
Bill Pulte founded the company in 1950 at age 18 with the construction of his first home: a true American success story. In 1969, Pulte Home Corporation went public, with Bill as chairman and president. In the 1970’s Pulte Homes grew tremendously, becoming known as the highest quality homebuilder across the U.S. By the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, Pulte Homes had become a homebuilding powerhouse and employed thousands of people across America.
By 2016, Pulte Homes had grown to $7.5 billion in revenue. The company current employs more than 4,500 people and is the nation’s sole multi-brand homebuilder, capable of serving homeowners during all phases of their life.
“Bill Pulte loved his work so much that he would say, ‘I never worked a day in my life because I loved what I did,'” said a family spokesperson.
Detailed History of William Pulte’s Career
- Bill took that first step on his construction career journey even before he graduated from De LaSalle High School in Detroit, working between his sophomore and junior years with a local carpenter.
- One week after his high school graduation, with the help of five high-school friends, he started construction on his first home, a five-room bungalow near Detroit City Airport.
- Bill sold that first house in 1950 for $10,000.
- In 1959, Bill built his first subdivision.
- In the 1960’s, Bill expanded Pulte Homes expanded from Michigan into Washington, DC, Chicago and Atlanta.
- In 1972, the stock of the parent company, PHM Corporation, began trading on the American Stock Exchange and in 1983 on the New York Stock Exchange.
- By the 1980’s the company was closing more than 4,500 homes each year in 11 states, with revenues of $294 million.
- By 1995, Pulte Corporation had become the largest homebuilder in the United States.
- In 1999, it became a Fortune 500 company, selling a record 26,622 homes that year.
- By 2005, that record was shattered as PulteGroup delivered 45,630 homes and generated consolidated revenues of $13.7 billion.
- Along the way, Bill led the company through the establishment of a mortgage company, the formation of a federal savings and loan, and the acquisition of Radnor Homes, DiVosta Homes, and Del Webb.
- In 2010, Fortune magazine recognized Pulte Homes as one of the world’s most admired companies. Bill announced his retirement that same year.