Family & Friends
By Sue Steinheider, F200844
Despite dire predictions of bad weather, the sun shone brightly on Lebanon, Tennessee, for the sixth annual International Area Rally, sponsored by the International Area Organization (INTO). Six hundred forty family coaches and 64 display motorhomes crowded into the James E. Ward Agricultural and Community Center for the “Tennessee Jamboree” May 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Rally-goers enjoyed beautiful weather, great entertainment, and, of course, a large number of exhibitors selling a variety of items. In addition to the fabulous shopping opportunities, attendees also had the chance to participate in numerous seminars and enjoy three days of catered hot breakfasts.
International Area vice president Max Durbin, F76454, and his wife, Joanne, and INTO vice president Carl Seale, F129709, and his wife, Sue, served as rally masters for the event. They put together a terrific slate of entertainment with a country-style feel, since Lebanon is less than an hour from Nashville. The Frustrated Maestros performed each morning during breakfast and again at the ice cream social, and the popular duo Dave and Daphne played each afternoon in the exhibit area. Master of ceremonies Dick Freeman helped prepare the crowd for evening entertainment with his homespun humor. Featured entertainers included Double Decker; Tom and Beverly Grant and The Survivors; Juli Maners; and Us Two and Him.
The Ag Center is also home to Fiddler’s Grove, a collection of historical homes and buildings (plus a few re-creations). Attendees enjoyed seeing how pioneers coped with living on the frontier in log cabins, cooking over open fires, etc. Bet they would find today’s RVs a much more comfortable way to live.
To make sure that each attendee had an electric hookup and access to fresh water, the Ag Center installed power lines and set up water supplies in the grassy parking areas. The grounds also have several dump stations, and Carl Seale reminded attendees several times to “go and dump.” Okay, it was funnier when you were there.
Today Lebanon, which is home to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store corporate offices and a Dell Computer Corporation facility, is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. The residents were delighted to have the INTO rally in town. Many times, locals walked up to attendees in restaurants, stores, and just on the street to tell them how welcome they were and to say how happy they were to have the rally in town.
The next INTO rally will be held June 30 to July 3, 2006, at Cam-Plex in Gillette, Wyoming. Rally-goers already have been invited to stay over and help the town celebrate a spectacular Fourth of July. Even if you don’t belong to an International Area chapter, please come and spend this long summer weekend with us in the vast expanses of Wyoming. You’ll have a blast!
Margaret Hoffman Passes Away
Margaret Hoffman, L2494, who served FMCA as both a national secretary and a national vice president, passed away on May 16 in Warren, Pennsylvania, after a 3½-year battle with cancer. She was 70.
Margaret was born in Franklinville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Warren High School in 1950. She married her husband, Don, on December 4, 1954, at the First Church of the Nazarene in Warren, and the couple had four children: Tim, Bonnie, Debbie, and Jeff.
The Hoffmans joined FMCA in 1966 after Don had completed his first family bus conversion. In 1969, after converting several buses, Don and Margaret started Hoffman Coach, C1859, which is touted as one of the oldest continuously active coach conversion companies in the United States. According to an article published in the October 1995 issue of FMC, Don and Margaret did all of the conversion work themselves during the early days of the company. “He did everything and I covered it up,” said Margaret, who was responsible for the installation of the ceilings, carpet, and upholstery. She also specialized in creating the stained glass used in the company’s coaches, a hallmark of Hoffman Coach conversions.
Aside from their work as coach converters, the Hoffmans were very active as family members of FMCA. Together they were founding members of the Converted Coach, Allegheny Mountain, MCI International, Prevost Prouds, and Penn Coachmen chapters. Margaret served as national director of the Allegheny Mountain chapter from the time it was chartered in 1975 until her death. The Hoffmans attended numerous FMCA rallies and international conventions, both as family members and as exhibitors.
Margaret served as FMCA national secretary from 1972 to 1975, and as a national vice president from 1977 to 1979. She also served a pair of terms on the Nominating Committee and the President’s Council.
Margaret was a member of the First Church of the Nazarene for more than 50 years. She enjoyed her grandchildren, family, camping, and work.
Margaret and Don celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. In addition to Don, she is survived by her four children, nine grandchildren, a great-grandchild, and two brothers.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cancer Care Center, Warren General Hospital, 2 Crescent Park, Warren, PA 16313.
By Charlie Atkinson, L10327
Thursday, May 26, 2005, was an important date for members and chapters of FMCA’s Great Lakes Area. On that day, the Great Lakes Area Motorhome Association (G.L.A.M.A.) was formed.
A meeting was held that morning to discuss the formation of an area association. National directors from all of the Great Lakes Area chapters were invited to attend, and two thirds of the chapters were represented. After it was explained to the national directors why it was necessary to form an area association and how it would affect the chapters, time was allotted for discussion. After the discussion ended, those in attendance unanimously voted to form the Great Lakes Area Motorhome Association.
Formation of such an association had been under consideration for the past several years. FMCA has 10 areas (nine geographical areas and the International Area), and all but the Great Lakes Area had formed an area association. These area associations originally were created to organize and run the area rallies. However, the Great Lakes Area was fortunate to have the Michigan Knights of the Highway chapter, which, for the past 28 years, has organized and run the Great Lakes Area Spring Spree, or, as we know it, the G.L.A.S.S. rally. Recently, with the growth and evolution of FMCA, other factors made it necessary for the chapters in the Great Lakes Area to form their own association. Here is a small segment of Article XV from the newly revised FMCA Bylaws concerning area associations:
“An area association may be formed from chapters in an existing FMCA area for the purpose of enhancing communication between and among FMCA and its chapters within the area; facilitating cooperation among chapters; coordinating area events; assisting the area vice president in the execution of his/her duties; and the execution of other activities that benefit area members.”
Also, there has been talk about how FMCA will be governed in the future. At the present time there are more members on FMCA’s Governing Board (489) than there are in the U.S. House of Representatives (435). If, at some point, action is taken to reduce the size of the Governing Board, their work likely would be done through the area associations. Without a formal association, the Great Lakes Area could be left out of the governing process.
The main concern that most people had about forming an area association for the Great Lakes Area was that it might interfere with the Michigan Knights of the Highway’s ability to host the G.L.A.S.S. rally. Nothing in FMCA’s bylaws dictates who hosts an area rally.
After voting to form the area association, the chapter representatives elected interim provisional officers for the association. In keeping with FMCA’s bylaws, the current area vice president will serve as the area association president. That would be Ginny McGrath, F87335. Dave Currey, F207664, of the Tri-State Traveliers chapter, was elected senior vice president; Chuck Powell, F191230, of the Roll-N-Wheels chapter, was elected secretary; and Cal Courtney, F158229, current president of the Michigan Knights of the Highway chapter, was voted in as treasurer. Don Crawford, F11012, immediate past area vice president and president of the Ontario Overlanders chapter, was selected as a non-elected adviser.
To preserve and protect the Michigan Knights of the Highway chapter’s position as the host for future G.L.A.S.S. rallies, a recommendation was made to put the following article into the G.L.A.M.A. bylaws:
“The Michigan Knights of the Highway chapter will be the designated host of the Great Lakes Area Spring Spree (G.L.A.S.S.), and will plan and operate the rally with the support and assistance of the other chapters in the Great Lakes Area.”
A bylaws committee was elected to create the bylaws for the area association. Its members include Ross Boyer, F268985, of the Hoosier Cruisers chapter, chairman; Cal Courtney; Bob Dingman, F157198, of the Northern Lights chapter; Jon Walker, F268778, of the Great Lakes Converted Coaches chapter; and Charlie Atkinson, L10327, of the Casino Cruisers chapter. This committee hopes to develop a draft of the bylaws for the association within the year, which then will be submitted to all of the chapters in the Great Lakes Area.
It should be noted that all FMCA chapters in the Great Lakes Area will be considered members of the area association, as well as all FMCA members who live in the Great Lakes Area. There will be no dues required for membership.
The bottom line is that the formation of G.L.A.M.A. will have no effect on future G.L.A.S.S. rallies, but will be of great assistance in helping members and chapters in the area communicate with one another. Becoming an area association also will ensure that chapters within the Great Lakes Area will have a say in the future governance of FMCA.
Questions regarding the formation of the association can be directed to any of the G.L.A.M.A. officers.
Double Celebration For An FMCA Founder
Jim Hodge, F12, of Chamcook, New Brunswick, Canada, enjoyed a double celebration on April 22, when members of FMCA’s Perfect Circle chapter honored him with a surprise 80th birthday party. Besides enjoying a wonderful cake decorated with a picture of his converted bus, “Giddy Up Go,” Jim, a charter member of FMCA, had a chance to gather with friends and reminisce about the early days of the association.
On June 20, 1963, was among the 26 owners of converted buses who, along with their families, gathered at the top of a wooded hill at the Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine, to watch the eclipse of the sun from one of the finest viewpoints in the eclipse path. He was one of two Canadians in attendance (the other was Eric Webster, L16); at the time, both lived in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
The reason for meeting was twofold: In addition to viewing the eclipse, organizers also wanted to form a club in which coach owners could exchange information about good camping areas, registrations, insurance, excise taxes, and adventures along the highway. The meeting resulted in the formation of Family Motor Coach Association.
Jim told wonderful stories about the early days of FMCA and related how it felt like family then and it has always felt like family when FMCA members get together. We, as Perfect Circle members, feel very privileged and honored to have Jim as a member of our chapter. He still drives a converted bus, is an avid golfer, and one of his greatest loves is still FMCA.
Happy birthday, Jim, from all of your FMCA family friends. We look forward to celebrating your 85th with you and the same happy family.