Peter W. “P.W.” Enns, 92, a co-founder in 1965 of Canadian RV manufacturer Triple E RV, Winkler, MB, died Nov. 28 at Salem Personal Care Home in Winkler.
Enns was an apprentice shoemaker, held a gas-fitter’s license and was a self-taught plumber, electrician, welder, carpenter, woodworker and inventor before – at age 53 – he founded Triple E in 1965 with sons-in-law Pete Elias and Philipp Ens.
The trio’s goal was to provide winter work for the employees of a hardware store Enns owned. In a friend’s garage, tinkerer Enns designed Triple E’s first unit based on the design of travel trailers he saw during a trip to Elkhart, Ind.
Two years later Enns designed and produced the first Canadian motorhome, built on a milk van chassis.
With the RV company growing rapidly, Enns sold the plumbing business in 1968, and Triple E went on to manufacture travel trailers, fifth-wheels, Class A and Class C motorhomes.
Enns was the company’s first president from 1965 to 1969, when his sons-in-law took over active management. Currently, co-founder Philipp R. Ens is chairman of the board and Enns’ oldest grandson, Terry Elias, is Triple E president.
Enns considered the RV business an extension of his Mennonite faith, growing the company to provide local employment and directing profits into charitable and church projects. In fact, Enns raised money through the P.W. Enns Family Foundation to build the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnepeg.
Enns was pre-deceased by his wife Helena in 1993. Survivors include daughter Erna Elias, son-in-law Philipp R. Ens and his wife Ilse, daughter Jane Peters and her husband Harold, son Willie Enns and his wife Sharon; and 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.