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Founder of Nation's Largest Homebuilder Dies
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 29, 2024

Donald R. Horton died suddenly on May 17, 2023 of a likely heart attack, the Dallas Morning News reported. (Business Wire)

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The man behind the company that has built more than 1 million homes across the U.S. died suddenly of a likely heart attack at age 74 on Friday, May 17.

Donald R. Horton built his first home in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas, according to a news release from Business Wire. He would then found D.R. Horton, Inc, America’s Builder.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my friend and our Company’s iconic founder and Chairman, Don (“DR”) Horton,” said David Auld, the company’s executive vice chairman.

“Throughout the company’s 46-year existence, he worked tirelessly to build a national homebuilding operation with a strong company culture, and the impact of his personal involvement with our team of operators across the United States has contributed immeasurable value to our company and people.”

D.R. Horton Largest Homebuilder in America

Horton took his real estate company public in 1991. It would become the largest homebuilder in the U.S. by 2002, closing more than 1 million homes in its 45-year history.

The company has built homes in 33 states, including California, and 119 markets, including Fresno and surrounding communities.

Horton served as the company’s first chairman. He led the company up until his death. Auld stepped in as executive chairman, according to the release.

Horton traveled extensively in his position, making a point to visit everyone in the sales offices, job sites, and division offices. The company described him as approachable and relatable to everyone, never forgetting his hard work and humble beginnings.

D.R. Horton homes range from entry-level to higher end with sales tags from $200,000 to $1 million. The company has built homes in 33 states, including California, and 119 markets, including Fresno and surrounding communities.

Despite the company’s size, Horton maintained a strategy of decentralized decision making, allowing local leadership teams to make business decision such as product offerings, price points, and home features.

Horton is survived by his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.

“We are all indebted to DR for his vision, tenacity and never-ending drive to continue to grow and improve our company. While he is impossible to replace, we will strive to carry on his legacy of enabling the dream of homeownership for individuals and families across the United States in every stage of their lives,” Auld said.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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