Two men who contributed to the growth of the RV lifestyle in the West died recently. Bob O’Loughlin, Sr., a producer of RV shows in Portland, Oregon, and Tacoma, Washington, died in Portland Aug. 17 at the age of 80, and Jack Denton, a longtime leader in the campground industry, died Aug. 26 in Peoria, Arizona, at the age of 89.
O’Loughlin learned the trade show business from his father and passed it on to his children through a family-owned company that spans four generations. O’Loughlin Trade Shows has produced hundreds of consumer shows, including boat, sportsmen and flower and garden shows, in addition to RV shows. Three of Bob O’Loughlin’s sons and a grandson continue to be involved in the business.
Bob O’Loughlin’s promotional flair led to staging a floating boat show in Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, promoting “Twiggy, the Waterskiing Squirrel,” and attracting Ted Williams, the Supremes and Tony Bennett for personal appearances.
Bob’s son Bill, the company president, said, “Dad never stopped dreaming and his passion was infectious. He told us he was able to visualize a show’s feature attraction in color—down to the smallest detail. It drove some of us crazy when it came down to the execution, but in the end you knew there was method to his madness.”
Jack Denton created the Flagstaff KOA in 1967, just five years after the founding of Kampgrounds of America. He helped form the Arizona Campground Owners Association in 1975, and was a charter member of the organization that was the forerunner of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
“Jack was considered the father of our industry in Arizona,” said Jo Ann Mickelson, executive director of the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “He was truly a treasure that we all adored.”