Jeff Firth, who led Wakefield 25th St John’s Scout Group for more than 30 years, received more than 250 cards on his 80th birthday.
He spent hours opening cards and reading messages from friends and family showed their support after he was diagnosed with dementia.
Mr Firth, who was nicknamed “Skip” during his years in the scout movement said: “I wasn’t expecting it but I really appreciated it. It was very humbling.
“A lot of people responded and said nice things.”
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The Facebook appeal was launched by his son Matthew, who lives in America and could not be there on Mr Firth’s June 5 birthday.
Mr Firth’s wife Sue, 61, said: “My husband has been much loved and very well respected by a lot of people for many years.”
Cards were received from Sri Lanka, Holland and America, and more than 500 people became Facebook “friends” after the appeal was launched.
Among those who sent cards were Mr Firth’s beloved Huddersfield Town FC.
Mrs Firth said: “It went completely crazy. Every single person who sent a card wrote a nice message for him.
“He was moved by the wonderful words from people about how much they loved and respected him.”
Mr Firth, a keen footballer who became and FA-qualified coach, ran Jeff Firth Autobodies, on Ings Road.
The business collapsed in the recession of the late 1980s, but Mr Firth went on to pioneer the launch of a new company, Forever Living products, The Aloe Vera Company.
He became area manager, along with Mrs Firth, and travelled to America, Europe and the Far East as a motivational speaker for the firm.
Around a month ago he was diagnosed with dementia.
Mr Firth thanked everybody who sent birthday cards and messages. He added: “I feel fine and I look after myself.”