Last month marked the passing of Edward J. Bobit. He was the founder and chairman of Bobit Business Media. The company began with the 1961 launch of Automotive Fleet. It would grow to include more than 20 titles, including Auto Dealer Monthly and F&I and Showroom.
I met Ed when I joined the company in 2006. We hit it off right away. We were both from the Great Lakes and we both grew up on farms. He had that way about him: friendly and direct. He told me to tell him if I needed anything. A couple years in, an editorial assignment came up. I wanted that. We dove right in.
Mike Antich, the longtime editor of Automotive Fleet, wrote a beautiful tribute to Ed. Everyone should read it. He said they never had a single argument. I couldn’t believe it. Ed and I got into it a couple of times. But it was never for sport. He just said what was on his mind.
The magazine had to be on time, and it had to be good. There was no sacrificing one for the other. And he wouldn’t stand for excuses. He never made excuses. He was going to be there and he was going to do the work. I would guess I beat him to the office no more than three times. He always came in at 7:30. And he was always cheerful, always ready for action. The only way you could sour him was shipping the magazine late. He hated that.
Anyone who thinks Ed settled into some kind of semi-retirement in his later years is kidding themselves. He set the editorial calendar and he knew about every article in every issue. He called people who wouldn’t call me back. He could get a response from anyone. He also answered angry phone calls and emails. He was the master of diplomacy and, occasionally, derision. Whatever the situation called for.
The last time I saw him was at a conference in Vegas. He had been through the heart attack and the surgery. But he showed up and we were all happy to see him. Someone said, “Ed, you look like a million bucks.” Ed chuckled. “All spent,” he said.
Ed Bobit worked right up until the end of his life. He created a thousand opportunities and touched a million lives. He was our friend and we will never forget him.