Family, friends and colleagues paid their respects to Ed Bobit at a memorial service on Wednesday, honoring the Bobit Business Media founder and chairman as a publishing force known for his tough-but-fair approach to business and family.
Several hundred well-wishers attended the memorial service at St. John Fisher church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Bobit died June 29 at the age of 86, almost a year after having heart valve replacement surgery.
Bobit founded Bobit Business Media and Automotive Fleet magazine in late 1961 with $6,000 after leaving McGraw-Hill. In 1965, he acquired the magazine that he relaunched as SCHOOL BUS FLEET.
Ed's son, Ty, who took over as CEO in 2004, described Ed as his best friend and said he could "fix any problem." He recounted watching "The Lone Ranger" on TV as a boy as his father left for the office on Saturday mornings. The TV character wore a mask and had about the same build and height as Ed, which led Ty to believe perhaps his father was standing in for the TV hero.
"Our dad was a superhero to us," Ty said. "He was tough. My father was always straight with people in business and in his personal life."
Colleagues and family members spoke about Bobit's entrepreneurial spirit, exacting standards and often freewheeling style that helped build the company into the top fleet publisher with publications serving the automotive, aftermarket, beauty and law enforcement industries.
Ed enjoyed life's pleasures, which included rooting on his Michigan State Spartans, puffing on Marsh Wheeling cigars, and taking trips with his family, speakers said.
Ed could also show a relentless drive at the office as he expanded the company.
"He was a force of nature," said Sherb Brown, vice president and group publisher of Bobit's AutoGroup. "When Tom Brokaw talks about the Greatest Generation, Ed's the guy he's talking about."
Ed Bobit leaves behind five children, 14 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.