Family & Friends
Donald T. McGrath, F87335, past national vice president, Great Lakes Area, passed away on May 2 at his winter home in Lake Wales, Florida, after a long illness. He was 72. His wife, Ginny, currently is serving as Great Lakes Area vice president.
Don was born in Buffalo, New York, and earned a bachelor of science degree in business at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. He was employed by General Motors, Fisher Body Division, for 35 years, retiring from a management position.
The McGraths joined FMCA in February 1987. Don served as vice president of the Midwest Coachmen chapter from 1989 to 1992, as chapter president from 1992 to 1995, and as chapter national director from 1995 to 1996. With Ginny he also belonged to several other FMCA chapters: Achievers International, Frustrated Maestros Great Lakes Area, Hoosier Cruisers, National RV Great Lakers, National United Travelers, Ohio Nomads, and Ontario Overlanders.
Don served as Midwest Area vice president from 1996 to 2000. He also was a member of FMCA’s Constitution & Bylaws, Convention & Rally, Finance, Management, Membership/Member Services, and Policy & Procedure committees. He and Ginny attended numerous FMCA conventions and area rallies over the years, volunteering in such areas as handicapped parking and transportation.
Don served as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Mansfield, Ohio. He also was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He enjoyed numerous sports, including golf and baseball, and coached Little League teams for 15 years. He was an accomplished woodworker as well.
Don and Ginny were married for 52 years. Don also is survived by three children: Bill, and his wife, Sue, of Mayfield, Ohio; Jim, of Pickerington, Ohio; and Dale, of Rochester Hills, Michigan; as well as eight grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Shrine Burn Center (c/o Bill Nesbitt, 5180 Marciel Drive, Elida, OH 45807) or Good Shepherd Hospice (500 S. Missouri Ave. #500, Lakeland, FL 33815).
Building A Better Dream Home
By Doug Uhlenbrock
When Tony Anthony, F261559, retired from the construction industry in July 2001, he and his wife, Janice, decided that they were tired of taking care of their house in Felton, California. “We didn’t want to spend our retirement years scraping and painting and doing other things around the home,” he said. “We wanted to enjoy our retirement time without being slaves to a house and property.”
So the couple, now both 62, sold their home and bought 6.4 acres of undeveloped property in the foothills of Oroville, California, approximately 70 miles north of Sacramento. The land was covered with brush and featured several stands of nice oak trees. After packing their belongings, they set off in their 1993 Winnebago Vectra motorhome, Jeep in tow, for their “new” home. But before reaching their destination, Tony needed to stop for some necessities: foremost, a John Deere bulldozer, which was delivered to their new address the next day. Shortly thereafter, the Anthonys’ dream house began to take shape.
Tony graded the land, created a driveway, and spread 550 tons of base rock. The site was ready for construction. But the Anthonys didn’t intend to build a sprawling brick ranch or quaint log cabin. Their dream home actually would be inside a building “” a pre-engineered, metal Butler building.
Most folks probably could never see themselves living in a 60-foot-by-80-foot steel frame building, but for the Anthonys it was a solution to all their needs. Not only would it provide enough room to store their 36-foot motorhome, cars, tools, and other equipment, but it also could house a 1,335-square-foot, two-bedroom living space.
“When we started planning, my wife drew up what we wanted,” Tony said. “Then we made it bigger. I’ve heard it said that you should make it twice as big as you think you need, so that’s what we did.”
Work began on January 17, 2002, when contractors began erecting the building. Once the structure was up, Tony did the rest. Of course, since he was going to do all of the electric and plumbing work himself, he needed more equipment, so he bought himself a backhoe.
The Anthonys covered all the bases when it came to designing their home inside this industrial-type building. The large bedrooms, located on opposite ends of the living area, each contain sliding glass doors to the outside and full baths with 8-foot-by-8-foot glass block bay windows that serve as shower walls “” opaque glass at the bottom, clear at the top “” with slate tile floors. Situated between the bedrooms is the kitchen-living room combination, which includes hardwood floors throughout and a sliding glass door to the front yard. In the hallway leading from the west bedroom is a pantry and a closet for the washer and dryer.
To buffer noise and to make the living space more energy-efficient, Tony used R38 insulation in the ceiling of the house, and put R19 insulation in the walls of the building. The roof has R10 insulation. Above the residential region he created what he calls the service area. This 20-foot-by-60-foot space, with 7½-feet of headroom, houses all of the utility lines that run into the living area. Should he need to work on an electrical or plumbing issue, the particular line can be isolated and turned off, leaving the rest of the system operational.
The remainder of the building is dedicated to the garage. Tony made sure it had everything necessary to keep the motorhome fully functional, to work on his cars, and to relax with friends.
From the road, vehicles enter the property through a wrought-iron gate. The gravel driveway leads to the back of the garage, which includes a 30-foot-by-80-foot concrete pad. On the back side are three 10-foot-by-10-foot roll-up doors through which cars or other equipment can be brought in. On the far left is a 10-foot-by-14-foot roll-up door for the motorhome, and another door just like it is located on the opposite wall, to be used as an exit.
When the Anthonys designed the space, they wanted the coach to be usable while parked. So Tony installed full hookups inside “” which include 50-amp electric, sewer, water, satellite TV, and telephone service. In fact, when the couple fulfilled a promise they made to themselves by spending Thanksgiving weekend of 2002 parked inside the building before the project was completed “” they had been living in the motorhome on a friend’s property “” they liked it so much, they never left. And should other motorhoming friends visit, the same hookups are available just outside the building.
While the space absolutely fills the requirement of a garage “” it also includes a car hoist and a compressed air system “” it also has become the couple’s central hangout area. On the west side is what can best be described as a multipurpose area. There you’ll find the coffeepot, a computer, a fax machine, a TV, and a microwave oven. Also present is a wood-burning stove, which Tony says comes in handy when his buddies come over to “spit and tell lies”; a gas grill, which, because the building is so large and well-ventilated, can be used year-round; and a couple of picnic tables.
“It’s nice because I don’t sleep late,” Tony said. “I can get up at 4:30, go out into the garage, turn on the TV, have my coffee, check the e-mail, and never bother my wife. When she gets up a little later, she’ll come out in her robe, get some coffee, and sit down in a lawn chair next to the stove. We’re probably in the garage more than the house.”
And just in case both bathrooms inside are occupied, there’s another in the garage area that includes a large shower, a toilet, and a washbasin. Of course, if you just need to wash your hands or clean up some tools, a mop basin stands ready nearby. Water drawn from a 500-foot well on the property (Tony had an outside company drill the well, but he put in the pump and other equipment himself) supplies the entire building, but not before going through a water softener he installed.
An area also is set aside in the garage for Janice’s gardening tools and supplies. And to make sure that the lawn and landscaping around the building maintain a lush appearance, Tony installed an automatic sprinkling system.
Of course, what garage would be complete without a hot tub? Yes, they have one of those, too, set up next to the motorhome. One of Tony’s next projects is to construct a deck around the tub so he can step right out of the motorhome onto the deck and then into the hot tub.
You might think that a building such as this would get extremely hot in the summer. But Tony insists that with the doors open in the summer, there’s enough breeze to keep the inside at least 10 degrees cooler than the outside. And with numerous windows and skylights scattered throughout the building’s walls and ceiling, sufficient ambient light filters in so that interior lights are seldom needed.
Of course, all of this was done to make life simpler. And it certainly reached the Anthonys’ expectations. “The idea was for this place to be maintenance-free,” Tony said. “The roof is made of zinc-coated steel, so I’ll never have to worry about that. The entire building is steel, so I don’t have to worry about termites, rotting, or painting.”
The couple received their final permits from the county in the spring of 2003 and couldn’t be happier with the finished product. To the south of the building is a beautiful meadow, providing a parklike setting right out the front door. And inside is everything they dreamed their “home” could be. “It might not have the gingerbread architecture that wood-frame houses have, but it works well for us and we like it,” Tony said.
Of course, with everything finished and little to do maintenance-wise, you’d think the couple would be on the road taking it easy, maybe doing a little fishing, one of Tony’s favorite pastimes. Perhaps someday soon, but the neighbor needs some excavating work done, and guess who still has that backhoe parked right outside the house?
Citizen Potawatomi Nation Welcomes Happy (OK) Wanderers
By Darrell Gilliland, F153488
In March of this year, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Shawnee, Oklahoma, opened its tribal campground to the Happy (OK) Wanderers chapter for a rally. Largely through the efforts of Wanderers member Joe David Mollet, F173021, a Potawatomi, and his wife, Eileen, the FMCA chapter was the first recreational group to enjoy the wonderful campground and many of the available activities on the tribe’s reservation, located a few miles east of Oklahoma City.
The campground includes two large buildings for meeting rooms, North Reunion Hall and South Reunion Hall. North Reunion Hall has a 280-person capacity and includes a fully equipped kitchen. East of the meeting room is an outdoor swimming pool and a miniature golf course. Also available is a large round-top outdoor pavilion. Many activities and services that would appeal to RV groups, such as a large casino, an 18-hole golf course, a service station, and a large supermarket, are all within walking distance of the campground.
Except for tribal members, the campground is not available for general overnight camping; however, it may be open to RV groups by reservation when not in use for tribal events. The campground has 79 full-hookup sites with 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electrical service and 26 primitive camping spaces. Future plans are to develop an additional 80 camping sites west of the round-top pavilion. Also under construction is an addition to the casino, a 188-room hotel, a major truck plaza and convenience store, and a new Cultural Heritage Center. The Cultural Heritage Center was scheduled to open in June.
Chapter members from 33 coaches made it to our rally, where they were greeted Thursday evening by John “Rocky” Barrett Jr., chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and Linda Capps, vice chairman. Mr. Barrett shared a brief history of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribe and told of its present and future plans to benefit its 27,000-plus members. (The term “chairman” is used instead of “chief” in the Potawatomi tribe to denote its elected leader.)
Following a Friday morning breakfast of burritos, juice, and coffee, members scattered to try their luck at the casino, play golf, shop at the tribal grocery store, or drive to the mall in Shawnee. In the afternoon the men attended a seminar led by Gary Kjelshus of Kjelshus RV Service Center in Oklahoma City. The subjects included refrigerators, furnaces, water heaters, batteries, and inverters. Seminar attendees gathered around one coach for a firsthand view of the various RV components.
With the men outdoors, the ladies assembled inside the meeting room to make quilts for the Six State Area Rally Quilt Challenge. More than 30 quilts were made on Friday, and members later voted to repeat the quilting activity at another rally. Everyone enjoyed the activity and felt especially good that these gifts will benefit needy children.
Members were treated to pizza Friday evening and later were entertained by five members of the Oklahoma Fancy Dancers, an Indian troupe that has demonstrated their native dances in many areas of the United States and abroad. Steve Littleman, a Kiowa-Cheyenne, was the singer and master of ceremonies for the performance. The four others who demonstrated the many native dances were Zack Morris, a Citizen Potawatomi; Kevin Connywerdy, a Comanche-Kiowa; Tonny Harjo, a Kiowa-Creek-Seminole; and Kricket Connywerdy, a Caddo-Kiowa. For information about the Oklahoma Fancy Dancers and their availability for performances, contact Steve Littleman at (405) 681-6437.
On Saturday evening some 60-plus rally-goers went across the street to the FireLake Golf Course for an Italian meal at the restaurant there, San Remos. After dinner we returned to the meeting room, where we finished the day with the chapter business meeting. Chapter president Earl Powell, F63960, stressed how important it is for members to contact their state legislators and express support for House Bill 1338. A main point in the bill is this: “The Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission shall provide for the licensing of a promoter of a recreational vehicle show, whose purpose is the sale of new recreational vehicles.” Such a law is necessary for organizations such as FMCA to hold international conventions and area rallies within the state. As of this writing, the bill had passed the state House of Representatives and was assigned to a Senate committee for study and review.
On Sunday morning chapter members enjoyed a continental breakfast, before being led in a devotional by member Ron Wadley, F136162.
FMCA chapters are invited to call about using the reservation campground and its facilities. Contact Linda Capps, vice chairman, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, or Pam Smith, receptionist, at (800) 880-9880 or (405) 275-3121.