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Robert ‘Boots’ Ingram Left Industry Legacy

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September 23, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Robert "Boots" Ingram

Robert "Boots" Ingram

Teton Homes Corp. founder Robert “Boots” Ingram passed away Thursday (Sept. 23) after a courageous battle with heart, kidney and respiratory ailments.

Ingram, 80, was a member of — and major benefactor to — the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.

Ingram, best known as the founder in 1966 of Mills, Wyo.-based Teton Homes, a high-line towable manufacturer, was a member of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for 33 years, having served six years on its board of directors. He also was active in the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) throughout the 1970s and ‘80s.

Ingram — who earned his nickname as a child, wearing oversized boots while working in his father’s meat shop — was a graduate of Elkhart High School. He attended DePauw University before setting his sights on the RV industry, founding Strato Track, a manufacturer of sliding-door tracks for motorhomes, in 1954. He went on to found Teton, which eventually settled in Wyoming in 1967.

Ingram’s Teton, specializing in luxury fifth-wheels with tasteful interiors, was viewed as an industry innovator and was one of the first to install EPDM roof membranes. Teton in 1990 developed the first full electronic slideout room in the 15- to 18-foot range, more than doubling the 8-foot-long slideouts then in use. Teton also is credited with designing the first rear-bay-window concept utilizing a five-window wrap-around arrangement.

Ingram, whose son, Tony, had purchased the company from his father and is himself a Hall of Fame inductee, also owned and developed industrial, residential and business parks and built modular community correction facilities in South Dakota and Wyoming.

A staunch supporter of the RV industry, Ingram, again, was a major promoter and benefactor of the RV/MH Hall of Fame, financing the $1.5 million, 20,000-square-foot “Boots” & Betty Ingram Hall addition that currently houses the David Woodworth collection of pre-World War II RVs.

Ingram was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2003 and in 2008 received the second annual “RV/MH Hall of Fame” award for his leadership and support of the Hall’s programs and development. More recently, Ingram was also known as a key supporter of the Go RVing campaign, which encourages people to get out in the great outdoors and enjoy the lifestyle that he loved so much.

Ingram was active in the Presbyterian Church, and was also a member of the Elkhart 425 Elks Club for more than 50 years. He is survived by Betty, his wife of 62 years, five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

RVIA President Richard Coon issued the following statement on the passing of Ingram:

“RVIA mourns the passing of Robert Boots’ Ingram, one of the RV industry’s true pioneers and innovators. He was a strong supporter of RVIA and provided tremendous leadership and guidance during his tenure on the association’s Board of Directors. He was a passionate advocate for the Go RVing effort. But more importantly, he was a man of great character and kindness. His proud legacy lives on with the “Boots” and Betty Ingram Hall at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, which stands as a testament to his generosity and love of the RV industry.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He will be profoundly missed.”

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