By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
FMCA Executive Director
One hundred years ago this month, Kenneth T. Scott, FMCA’s first executive director, was born in New Cumberland, Ohio, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. He received a bachelor of science degree in education from Kent State University and did graduate work at University of Cincinnati. Mr. Scott began to work as a math teacher to junior high school students in 1937; for him, it was the start of a long career in the public schools. In 1943 he married the love of his life, Dotty.
Mr. Scott had a dream, a “pipe dream,” as he affectionately called it. While at sea during World War II, he had an idea about having living quarters in a vehicle — possibly a bus — that he later explained in a story printed in the first issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine in 1964. When he learned that he was not the first person to think of such a vehicle, he wrote, “Well, now. Here I had been nursing an ‘original’ idea for five or six years only to find out that someone had already done it.”
Ironically, right around the founding date of this association, Mr. Scott; his wife; and their two children, Dee Dee and Ken, embarked on a trip north to Maine. They were not aware of the gathering of FMCA pioneers at Hinckley, Maine. Rather, their destination was Damariscotta Lake, only a few miles from Hinckley, also to witness the solar eclipse. On the way home, the Scotts were riding along in their 1947 Flxible conversion when a car pulled out in front of them, prompting Mr. Scott to hit the brakes. A bowl of strawberries toppled off the table and onto their sofa. He pulled into a gas station so Mrs. Scott could clean up the mess, and he could cool down. There they met people in another Flxible conversion who told them about their weekend experience with like-minded families. Thus the love affair began and the Scotts soon joined FMCA. In 1965, Bob Richter, L1, announced that as of March 15, all membership services would be performed by Ken Scott in Cincinnati.
The 1970s fuel crises put a strain on FMCA. The organization that promoted activities for families possessing these homes on wheels could have easily closed its doors. However, Mr. Scott’s persistence kept his pipe dream alive. At the time of Mr. Scott’s death in 1996, Phil Johnson, L3221, FMCA national president from 1975 to 1977, stated, “If he [Ken Scott] had not had that persistence, things might not be the way they are now. We came through some difficult times together.”
During the summer convention at the St. Joseph County Fairgrounds in Centreville, Michigan, in 1976, a campaign was launched to raise money to purchase a new building in Anderson Township, an eastern suburb of Cincinnati, which remains the association’s national headquarters today. Mr. Scott recalled that establishing this new headquarters was “the culmination of one of my fondest pipe dreams.”
Ken Scott’s vision for this association was to make sure that “family” was promoted first and foremost. His wife, Dotty, stated, “The idea was that it [FMCA] was a family organization. He was very concerned about keeping it a family organization, thinking of the children and things like that.” She continued, “He always liked the idea of doing something for other people, like the literacy and homelessness campaign.” Since July 1989, Family Motor Coach Association’s Roundup efforts have raised more than $1.2 million for the National Center on Family Homelessness; ProLiteracy; Habitat for Humanity International; and Good Will-Hinckley.
The final thoughts included in Ken Scott’s memorial in the March 1997 edition of Family Motor Coaching magazine were voiced by former national president Phil Johnson: “He was a man who truly enjoyed helping people and used his ability to help different people come together and agree on a common goal. That way, FMCA could move ahead, and ‘pipe dreams’ could come true.”
Happy birthday, Mr. Scott. Your “pipe dream” lives on. We thank you!
- A special 50th anniversary edition of FMCA’s North American Road Atlas & Travel Guide will be produced in 2013. The seventh edition of this popular guide will contain campgrounds, Pilot Flying J Travel Plazas, and Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations. The atlases will be priced at $16 plus shipping and will be available starting in April 2013. Order your copy by visiting FMCAstore.com or by calling the FMCA national office at (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- The digital edition of Family Motor Coaching magazine is now available. Since its debut in late January, FMCA members now have another way to read their favorite magazine on the go. You can access the digital magazine on mobile devices such as the iPad and Android tablets; the iPhone and other smartphones; and on desktop and laptop computers. You also can download a PDF copy of the magazine so you can read it at times when no Internet connection is available. Best of all, the digital edition will be available a week or so before the print version arrives in mailboxes.
You must be signed in as a member or magazine subscriber to access the digital edition. If you have not yet signed in to FMCA’s Web site, get your membership card ready, go to FMCA.com, and click on “create an account.” If you already have an account, go to www.FMCmagazine.com/digital. Print copies of the magazine will continue to be sent to members and subscribers unless they request otherwise.