Employees of various Moroun companies were informed of his death on Monday in a message from Moroun’s son Matthew.
“My father loved his family and it extended to his working family,” wrote Matthew Moroun. “He invested his heart in his work and for more than seven decades, he spent his time directing and protecting us. As a great mentor for many, my father was so proud of the businesses he left behind and of all the innovations to come. ”
Moroun attended Jesuit high school at the University of Detroit and majored in chemistry and biology at the University of Notre Dame, according to The Detroit News.
“Born to immigrant parents in Detroit, he went from a young man working in a neighborhood gas station to a diploma from the University of Notre Dame and creating a billion dollar business,” said said Sandy Baruah, executive director of the Detroit Regional Chamber.
Moroun bought the Ambassador Bridge – a main trade corridor – in 1979, according to the Detroit Historical Society. The span connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.
He opposed Michigan and Canada’s plans to build a public commuter bridge over the Detroit River. The Gordie Howe International Bridge is scheduled to open in 2024.
The family also owns and operates Central Transport International, a trucking and logistics company, and Crown Enterprises.
Forbes estimates Moroun’s net worth at $ 1.6 billion.
The Moroun family once owned the huge, vacant Michigan Central train station, which came to symbolize the Detroit burns when it was empty, dark, and deteriorating just outside of downtown for decades. The family sold the building in 2018 to Ford Motor Co.
“For me, owning land in Detroit was a badge of honor, and it was support for the city,” Moroun told the Detroit Free Press in 2010. “Our fortunes are linked to the city. If the city doesn’t have any prosperity, we have no value in the land, right? “