Donald R. Mossey, a longtime executive in the RV and manufactured housing industries., died Saturday (May 22) at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. He was 84.
Mossey was an early manufacturer and promoter of manufactured housing in Elkhart, Ind. He was a longtime Mobile Home Manufacturers Association and Manufactured Housing Institute member. He founded and built five successful industry companies and developed numerous components and design features still in use for RV and housing units.
He has been a lifelong spokesman for housing industry causes. His companies, including Homette, Ventline, Leland Engineering and Imperial Stamping, have spanned a broad range of manufactured home component parts and homes.
A native of Elkhart, Mossey served aboard the USS Rowan DD782, a destroyer deployed in the Pacific theater during World War II. After the war, he entered Hillsdale College in Michigan. He returned to Elkhart upon his graduation from Hillsdale in 1951 to work as a commissioned salesman at Elkhart Richardson Homes, the first step in a remarkable career as an entrepreneur and civic leader. In 1957, he co-founded Homette Corp., a manufacturer of mobile homes and RVs.
Upon Homette’s merger with Skyline Corp., he was named executive vice president of Skyline and appointed to its board of directors.
In 1965 he became president and chairman of Ventline Inc., a manufacturer of metal products, a company he sold to Fortune 500 company Philips Industries, the board of which Mossey soon joined.
Over the next 40 years he served as chairman of numerous companies, including Custom Wood Products of Roanoke, Va., and Leland Engineering of White Pigeon, Mich.
In addition to his efforts for the industry, Mossey has served as chairman of the board of Hillsdale College for 28 years.
He was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2004.
Mossey helped establish Elkhart as a wellspring of entrepreneurial activity. He provided counsel, encouragement and backing to countless executives and community leaders. An astute judge of character, he made his friends carefully and kept them long. For him Elkhart was a barometer for the nation. He judged the national mood by the friends with whom he worked in his home town.
Mossey is survived by his widow, Jane Hill Mossey, his wife of 56 years; his three children, Merril (Dennis) McCarthy, Mark (Kathy) Mossey and Melanie (Charles) Mossey-Warren; six grandchildren; and one sister, June Verhagen. One son, Michael Alex Mossey, preceded him in death.
Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home in Elkhart is in charge of arrangements.