Editor’s Note: To view an article that ran in the sports section of The Oregonian on Bob O’Loughlin click here.
Bob O’Loughlin Sr. never wanted to be called a show promoter. But as a top show producer possessing a flair for showmanship and consumer education, he left an indelible positive mark on generations of outdoorloving families – including his own – across the U.S. and Canada.
O’Loughlin passed away of natural causes at his Portland home at the age of 80 on Aug. 17 following an annual hunting trip with his family in Southeast Oregon.
For over seven decades, O’Loughlin and his Portland-based O’Loughlin Trade Shows have introduced millions of showgoers to the pleasures and joys of outdoor adventure, including boating, fishing, hunting, camping, RVing and other pursuits.
“Dad never stopped dreaming, and his passion was infectious,” said son and company president Bill O’Loughlin. “He told us he was able to visualize a show’s feature attraction in color — down to the smallest detail. It drove some of us crazy when it came down to the execution, but in the end you knew there was method to the madness.”
Spanning four generations, the family-owned company has produced hundreds of consumer shows, including the Portland Home & Garden Show (65 years), Portland Boat Show (52 years) and the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show (37 years). Today, three of O’Loughlin’s sons and a grandson – the third and fourth generations involved in the family-owned business – continue to produce a full calendar of the region’s top consumer events.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, O’Loughlin began his career producing shows in 1955, teaming with his father, Thomas, who sought his son’s assistance to produce a new show in Spokane, Wash. At one time, the company produced as many as 26 shows across the U.S. and Canada. In 1981, the company expanded and opened a second office in Tacoma to produce shows in the newly-opened Tacoma Dome.
O’Loughlin is survived by five children Bob O’Loughlin Jr., Tacoma, Wash.; Mary Ann (O’Loughlin) Kurek, New Bern, N.C.; Bill O’Loughlin, Yamhill, Ore.; Terrence O’Loughlin, Portland, Ore.; Peter O’Loughlin, Portland, Ore.; and 13 grandchildren. His wife of 49 years, Regina Elizabeth (Winter) O’Loughlin, passed away in February 2006.
Plans for life celebration in September are pending.