Industry Icon Mat Perlot Launched Safari Brand

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October 9, 2012 by   2 Comments

Mat Perlot

Well-known RV industry entrepreneur Mathew Murray “Mat” Perlot, 77, passed away Oct. 5 in a Portland, Ore., hospital after an extended illness. A funeral celebration is tentatively planned for Nov. 10 in Bend, Ore., the time and location for which will be announced, according to son Martin Perlot, president and owner of industry supplier SilverLeaf Electronics Inc., Albany, Ore.

A resident of Scottsdale Ariz., Perlot was born in Portland and raised in Portland and Welches, Ore., later serving in the Army as an MP and paratrooper. He then worked for Thurlow Glove Co. and Columbia Sportswear as a production supervisor before leaving Portland in 1968 to start his own outdoor clothing company, Western Trails, in Bend.

Perlot then left the garment business for the RV arena and went to work for northwestern U.S. motorhome builders Beaver Coach Inc. as well as Monaco Coach Corp. and Country Coach Inc. as a marketing manager.

Perlot ultimately launched motorhome builder Safari Motor Coaches Inc., which eventually grew to include Beaver and Harney Coach Works. Perlot, who sold both Beaver and Safari to Monaco in 2001, also established Silver Creek Ranches in 1997 in Riley, Ore., where he ran cattle and grew alfalfa.

“I think the two things that Mat would best be remembered for would be, first of all, founding Safari and building Safari into one of the major motorhome manufacturers,” Martin Perlot told “The other would be rescuing Beaver through bankruptcy and saving several hundred jobs before he retired in 2001.”

Perlot is survived by his wife, Connie Perlot; sisters Marianne, Leila and Susan; brother Jerry; sons, Mike (Kathy), David, Gordon and Martin (Myra), and grandchildren Chris, Robert, Taylor, Danielle, Peter, Molly, Greg, Little Mat, Justin, Brianna and Shay. Perlot was preceded in death by his father, Leonard, mother, Muriel and sister Jan.

In retirement since 2001, Perlot spent time in Arizona, Mexico and Alaska, where he would entertain friends and family on his fishing boat and was always orchestrating the next great fishing adventure.

“Through his long stay at the hospital at the end of his life he was jovial and doing his best to entertain visitors,” the family reports. “Mat was always very giving. He paid for the college education of several of his employees’ children on the ranch and in Mexico and was a generous entertainer. Mat’s fish camp is closed. We will miss it very much.”



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2 Responses to “Industry Icon Mat Perlot Launched Safari Brand”

  1. marty hanoud on October 9th, 2012 2:03 pm

    RIP my friend, as one of the 1st east coast dealers w/ Safari & Beaver we enjoyed tremdous success, along w/ the super murals is was fun to sell your product. USRV will always remember your contribition & the super fishing trips to Alaska! My condolences to the Perlot family.

  2. Bill Trendler on October 12th, 2012 1:28 pm

    We bought our first Safari Motorhome from USRV and drove six hours one way to take it back there for service when it needed it. We fell in love with Mat’s most unique creation, the Safari TREK and when we could finally afford one Marty and USRV made it a wonderful experience.

    We joined Safari International immediately and the fun has not stopped. Since we bought our first Safari we have heard many anecdotes from people who felt privileged to know Mat. And the stories were always interesting.

    The man created a motorhome like no other. Many of our members who own a pre-Monaco Safari would not trade it for a brand new coach.

    Mat is certainly one who has left his imprint on an industry.

    May he rest in peace.

    Bill Trendler
    Safari International Motorhome Club