DAVIE, Fla. – South Florida is the mourning the death of automotive giant and philanthropist Rick Case who passed away Monday at the age of 77. Flags were flown at half-staff in his honor at Rick Case Automotive Group dealerships. This year marks 59 years in business for his family with 16 dealerships in Florida, Georgia and Ohio.
Case started his first car dealership in 1962 in Ohio. Last year, during an interview, he said car sales were “in his blood.”
“I sold my first car when I was 14; I’ve been a car salesman all my life,” Case said.
His love of car sales and his wife, Rita, led to the creation of one of the largest automotive groups in America and he was bullish about the competition.
“Our goals is to be the last dealership standing,” he said.
The couple became known across South Florida, not just for their cars, but for their charity work.
“We’ve been partners going on 40 years,” Rita said, beaming in an interview last year.
One of the charities they were known for and devoted to was The Rick and Rita Case Boys and Girls Club Bikes for Kids Program, which has provided more than 100,000 bikes for children during the holidays.
“Every Christmas, we’d see kids come in and wishing they could get a bike and we knew they couldn’t afford one, so we wanted to come up with a way that did that. We started with giving bikes ourselves and then we had the whole community join in with us,” Case said about the program of which he was so proud.
“Every dealer can give money and that’s easy, but giving time, that’s the hardest and that’s what we find is the most rewarding for us,” Case said.
Matt Organ, Co-CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, said he met Rick Case more than three decades ago.
“I’m going into my 40th year of Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County and humbled of knowing Rick when he first joined 30 something years ago. And I can tell you over the decades, we have never met anybody like Rick Case, the passion, the fire, how much he truly cared about our young people,” Organ said.
With the help of their children Raquel and Ryan, the Cases have raised over $50 million for charities across South Florida, a legacy that will live on.
“It’s a said day to say the least. Rick will sorely be missed on so many levels,” Organ said.
Rita said that Rick passed away surrounded by family and he was very proud of everything they had accomplished, but he told them all to continue his life’s work and to work hard to beat all of the records he’s ever set.
His family has set up the Rick Case Educational Scholarship Fund, which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County. To donate, go to www.bgcbc.org, click donate and write In Memory of Rick Case.