Edwin Hull McMullen, Sr. (Ed) passed away peacefully at his home in Sarasota, FL, on Friday April 10th at the age of 83. Born July 16, 1936 in Philadelphia, Mississippi to Mozelle Reed McMullen and Archie Hull McMullen. Ed had a humble childhood and graduated from Moultrie High School in 1954. He later studied at Florida Southern College (FSC) in Lakeland, Florida and graduated in 1958 with Distinguished Officer Military Honors for serving his country as 1st Lieutenant Army QMC. He was very involved in his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, and made many lifelong friends there. Ed had a deep passion for his alma mater and throughout his highly successful career he took every opportunity to support the college. Ed served as president of the Florida Southern College Alumni Association from 2012-2013 and joined the Executive Committee of the Spivey Society. Ed was also a longtime member of the Board of Trustees at FSC. Throughout his life, Ed practiced his faith in the First United Methodist Church.
After very successful careers in the worlds of insurance and banking, Ed ventured into real estate development – a journey that would span over 40 years. A true pioneer, he would go on to be the founder and co-founder of several companies – some of which became international corporations employing thousands of people.
Recognized as one of the most prolific visionaries in timeshares, Ed was a leading force in the resort development and vacation ownership industry since 1977 when he founded the American Resorts Group of Companies. American Resorts later caught the attention of Marriott which led to the growth of the timeshare industry as we know it today. American Resorts merged with Marriott in 1984 and is now known as Marriott Vacations Worldwide where Ed served as co-founder and a member of the executive leadership team. He later formed McMullen Development with the help of his two sons, Ed Jr. and Malcolm, having since developed many mixed-use resorts, fractional timeshares, and retirement communities. Ed also co-founded and developed Hilton Grand Vacations in 1992 as well as other industry brands and resorts well known today.
Ed was a Chairman of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and was a Founding Director and Vice President of the ARDA International Research Foundation. He was a 35+ year member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), serving on its Recreational Development Council and is also past Vice Chair of the ULI International Resort Committee. In 1992, Ed established the Sarkis-McMullen ARDA Scholarship Fund at Cornell University. Among Ed’s numerous national and international awards is ARDA’s coveted “Lifetime Achievement Award,” the industry’s highest recognition, in honor of his long-distinguished service and accomplishments in the resort development world.
Ed impacted millions of families in the way they vacation and spend time together, but the accomplishment of which he was most proud was the family of his own and how much time he was able to spend with them. A wonderful husband (and dance partner) to his wife Julie, beloved father to five children, “Papa Bear” to nine grandchildren, and “Papa Bear the Great!” to his two great grandchildren and a fourth generation McMullen on the way, Ed was always there for his family no matter the need. His devotion to them all was evident in everything he did. Ed was famous for bringing his family and friends together for celebrations, vacations, and everything in between. Through the good or the bad, you could always count on him for advice and an “Ed-ism” or two. Ed has planted a legacy for his family from which roots will continue to grow for generations to come.
Ed is survived by his wife Julie Schaefer McMullen, four children- Edwin Hull McMullen, Jr. (Debbie), Malcolm Winslow McMullen (Lynn), Melanie McMullen Gardner (Tim), Michelle McMullen Counter; stepson- Scott Winston Schaefer; nine grandchildren- Tyler McMullen (Wesleyann), Tanner McMullen (Jacqueline), Michael Hansberger (Hannah), Lauren Lawinger (Peter), Kevin Hansberger, Chase Counter (Sarah), Carlin Counter, Trace McMullen, and Rachel McMullen; two great grandchildren- Kennedy Lawinger and Dylan Lawinger; a sister- Mary Jane McMullen Cassels, nephew-James R. Cassels, Jr. (Cathy), nieces- Linda Cassels (David) and Carol Cassels; and great-niece-Jane Elizabeth Cassels
A private family service and burial will be held in the coming days. Ed’s family looks forward to welcoming his many friends and colleagues to a memorial service and reception in Lakeland, Florida and a celebration of life at Sarasota Yacht Club in the near future. Announcements will be made in due course.
According to his wishes, Ed and his family have established the Edwin H. McMullen, Sr. ’58 Scholarship Fund at Florida Southern College. In lieu of flowers now or at the future memorial service, please make donations to this fund supporting one of Ed’s greatest passions – the education of future generations.
Edwin H. McMullen, Sr. ’58 Scholarship Fund, Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801.
If you would like to make a gift by credit card, please call the FSC Office of Development at (863) 680-4754.
Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Home.