Bill Horvath, the American businessman who spent the past year trying to develop a Chinese-made Class A motorhome for the U.S. market, has died. He was 61.
He attended last week’s 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., but died after returning to his home in China, according to longtime friend Bruce Huntington, a patent and trademark attorney in Mishawaka, Ind.
No official cause of death has been determined, but Huntington speculated it may have been a heart attack.
Horvath was a 30-plus year veteran of the RV industry, and had spent recent years working with Yutong Bus Co. in development of a Class A motorhome that could compete in the U.S. Following meetings this past summer, Horvath had lined up several vendors for the project but announced just weeks ago that the project would be shelved for the time being.
“He had not given up on it. The idea was not exactly dead. Yuton had a continuing interest but just not yet,” said Huntington, who had dinner with Horvath on Thursday night (Dec. 2) and discussed that and other projects.
“He was alive and kicking and ready to go,” said Huntington. “He had ideas to do international business. He saw huge opportunities in Australia and Europe,”
Horvath had traveled to 38 different countries in his career and had been involved in manufacturing, design and production and all aspects of the industry, he added.
Huntington received a phone call Sunday afternoon from Horvath’s son-in-law, saying that Horvath had died earlier that day shortly after arriving home at his apartment in Zhengzhou, China, following a long flight from the U.S.
The body will be cremated in China and the remains brought back to the U.S. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday night at McGann-Hay Funeral Home in Granger, Ind.
Huntington called Horvath “quite a character, full of life. Forward-thinking, he really had great ideas and was probably out in front of most of the people he dealt with. He dedicated his whole life to the RV industry.”
Horvath formerly worked at Mallard Coach Co. and Damon Corp. and most recently at Gulf Stream Coach Inc., all Elkhart County businesses, before leaving for China.
Horvath is survived by his wife, Yan Liu, and five daughters.