William J. “Bill” Pulte broke ground on his first home with five friends after his high-school graduation, a five-room bungalow in Detroit that sold for $10,000 in 1950. By the mid-1990s, his business had grown into one of the nation’s largest home builders, operating across 25 states.
As the founder and onetime chairman, chief executive and president of what is now PulteGroup Inc., Mr. Pulte helped transform the primarily local business of home building into a large-scale national industry. He died Wednesday at age 85 at his home in Naples. Fla.
Mr. Pulte’s affinity for construction began in high school, when he worked with a local carpenter over summer vacation. After building his first home at age 18, and his first subdivision nine years later, he spent the 1960s expanding from Detroit into Washington, Chicago and Atlanta.
He took the company public as Pulte Home Corp. in 1969, and continued to expand across the country through acquisitions and entering new markets.Founder and Chairman of the Board, Pulte Homes, Inc. Mr. Pulte, the founder of Pulte Homes, Inc., has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors since December 2001. Previously, Mr. Pulte served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors from January 1999 to December 2001, and Chairman of the Board of Directors from January 1991 until January 1999.