John R. “ Johnny” Ketelsen, who founded Ketelsen RV in Marion, Iowa, in 1962, passed away on Monday (Aug. 17).
Ketelsen’s legacy stretches from Ketelsen RV, now owned and operated by son Gary in Hiawatha, Iowa, to Ketelsen Campers of Colorado in Wheat Ridge, owned and operated by son Randy.
Ketelsen was not only a founding member of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), but served as the association’s secretary in the late 1970s. He continued to serve on the RVDA board of directors into the early 1980s. As past president of the Iowa RV Dealers Association, he mentored countless dealers throughout the RV industry. In 2000, Ketelsen was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“His commitment to RVDA and the RV industry was unwavering,” said his son Randy. “He understood the importance of a strong dealer organization from the beginning and did all he could to support it.”
In addition to his career as an RV dealer, Ketelsen traveled extensively with his own Western dance band, the Johnny Ketelsen Band. The band broadcast daily for 20 years on WMT radio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He also served as potentate for El Kahir Shrine in Cedar Rapids in 1987.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Murdoch Funeral Home, 3855 Katz Drive, Marion, Iowa. A memorial fund has been established at Farmers State Bank in Marion.