I was invited to join the staff of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 1994 as the on site manager while the President, Carl Ehry, traveled the country raising funds and giving recognition to those who had been honored by the Hall of Fame. At that time, while I was an active camper and houseboater, I could barely spell RV. I had begun working at and running Boy Scout camps in 1957 and had spent over 25 summers camping but never in an RV.
In between camping related assignments, immediately after graduating from Michigan State, I spent 5 years as a police officer at MSU during the late 1960s and 10 years selling autos in the 80s and early 90s.
I soon was asked to organize the foundation’s library and become familiar with RV and mobile home history. Shortly thereafter, in the fall of 94, Carl and I decided to create the RV and mobile home museum. Hours were spent sorting and organizing nearly 10,000 books and magazines (now grown to 20,000) and soliciting and displaying restored trailers and motorcoaches. We accepted nothing that was not restored and ready to show and all by donation as we had no budget to purchase anything. Not too long after the library was organized I had the pleasure of assisting Forrest in his research into the history of the TCT and not too long after that, assisting Bud Cooper in his research into the life of Wally Byam. I was invited to attend the second Camp Dearborn Convention with the curator of a Vermont museum and have been active with TCT since. I have acquired two units of my own – 1964 Yellowbird tent trailer that as been at a couple of meets and my 1984 Mirage Micro-Minnie motorhome, plus the responsibility for 55 vintage units from 1913 to 1988 in the RV/MH Museum.
I have had the opportunity to write over 30 published articles for various RV magazines, appeared in TV documentaries on Travel, Discovery, History, HGTV and Canada’s History TV. I authored “The Dumb Things Sold…Just Like That” a history of the development of the RV industry, and have worked with many TCT members plus college faculty members, attorneys, and just plain nice folk to research all kinds of RV data. I developed a one hour educational program on RV history (100 Years of RVs in America) which I have shared at several TCT events as well as large and small RV Rallies all around the country.
My 2007 induction into the Hall of Fame was the shock of my life and one of my proudest moments even if I think I can name others who probably deserve it more.