Ed Bobit, founder and chairman of Bobit Business Media, publisher of NAILS Magazine and VietSALON as well as many other media brands, passed away this morning at the age of 86. Last summer Bobit had undergone valve-replacement surgery and had been working primarily from home. He died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of June 29, 2014.
Bobit was a man of outsize pleasures, but none more than his work and family, which were usually one and the same. Ed’s son Ty runs the company (Ed had turned over the CEO mantle to Ty in 2004) and his eldest grandson Blake joined the company in 2010. Ed loved the publishing business and embraced the new direction the business
was taking online. Although he was a salesman at heart, he had the mind of an editor and knew that when you gained the trust of your magazine’s readers that you earned true industry leadership. He was actively involved in the business until the end, working on the company’s dealer group, writing a regular column for Automotive Fleet, participating in senior management, and even working with the company’s beauty group on a conference idea.
“I got a call this morning from his house phone,” said NAILS group publisher Cyndy Drummey, “and I thought he was calling to talk about our planning meeting tomorrow. He had an idea on his mind and he had asked to come talk to our whole NAILS team.”
“I loved how even though he hadn’t worked directly on NAILS for years, he always had an idea for me on a new story or a new angle,” said Hannah Lee, NAILS associate publisher and editor. “Sometimes it was an email, a quick call, or maybe even a photocopied story he saw in the news. No matter what the format, I always knew it would be something worth following up on.”
He had a big family and enjoyed hosting annual reunions of his five grown children (his daughter Bonnie, who worked on NAILS in the mid-1990s, predeceased him in 2007), 14 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. He mentored many publishing professionals in his long career, and inspired many with his stamina. Until the heart trouble last summer, nothing slowed him down.
Though sharp as a tack even later in life, he had cultivated a clever trick early in his career to remember people’s names. He simply called everybody “Coach” and insisted everyone call him Coach as well. It became a term of endearment.
"Ed Bobit was a huge influence on my career," said publisher Michelle Mullen. "He was tough and just awesome! I worked on his team from around 1997 to 1999 and got to see him in action first-hand. I loved watching him interact with his clients. He listened intently and remembered everything they said. Clients would comment about how much they appreciated his genuine interest and assistance to help them succeed. If I can do one thing to honor him it would be to emulate him and I hope I can do him justice."
One of his greatest passions was any sport played by his beloved Michigan State, where he played himself during his undergraduate career. This year’s Spartan victory at the Rose Bowl, which he watched in person at the Rose Bowl, was, in his own words, “One of the happiest days of my life.”
He is survived by his five children: Ty Bobit, Beverly Jacobson, Beth Edwards, Bobi Jo Banas, Barbara Jusseaume, 14 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.
In addition to NAILS Magazine and VietSALON, the company also publishes Automotive Fleet, Government Fleet, Business Fleet, F&I and Showroom, Auto Dealer Monthly, Police, Work Truck, Auto Rental News, Fleet Financials, Green Fleet, Vehicle Remarketing, Limousine, Charter & Tour, Modern Tire Dealer, Auto Service Professional, Metro, School Bus Fleet, Heavy Duty Trucking, as well as sponsors 12 live events and conferences.