Paul Abel Was Industry Pioneer, Show Veteran
Services will be Saturday (July 30) for Paul Abel, 88, Wakarusa, Ind., president and founder of Franklin Coach. Inc., a travel trailer, fifth-wheel and park model manufacturer in Nappanee, Ind.
Abel, who died July 28 after a short illness, was among the founding members of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and was RVIA show chairman for more than 30 years. He also organized retail shows for the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association/Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council for more than 25 years.
“Up until earlier this year, he was working four days a week,” said son Steve Abel, controller of the family-owned company founded in 1945. “He was really one of the pioneers of the RV industry, and I think we are about the only company around that has the same ownership for all these years.
“He didn’t have any hobbies; he only wanted to work. And he didn’t want to just work in the office. He loved to get down on the line and show the workers how it was supposed to be done.’’
Abel said his father particularly enjoyed staging the retail shows. “He ran the South Bend Show back when it was a real big manufacturers’ show,” said Steve Abel, whose brothers – Don and Rick – also are executives with Franklin Coach.