The RV Dealers Association (RVDA) informed its membership today that Dan Pearson, owner of PleasureLand RV Centers, headquartered in St. Cloud, Minn., has passed away.
Pearson served as RVDA chairman of the board in 1993-94, was a member of the RVDA Board of Delegates, vice chairman of the Mike Molino RV Learning Center and served as co-chairman of the Go RVing Coalition. He was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2018.
PleasureLand began in 1971 as part of Plaza Buick, which was owned by Dan’s father, Vern. Dan started working at the dealership when he was just 11 years old. Pearson took over the dealership in 1982 with just 20 employees. Today the company is one of the largest RV dealership groups in the Upper Midwest, with locations in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Pearson received the Entrepreneurial Success Award from the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce in 2018.
“Dan was a pillar of both the RV industry and RVDA,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “He was active in every facet of our association’s work over the past four decades. Dan was a passionate advocate for dealers at the state and federal level, supported continuing education for dealership employees, and a champion of market expansion efforts that helped lead the industry to unprecedented growth.”
“The RV Industry Association mourns the loss of Dan Pearson, said RV Industry Association (RVIA) President, Craig Kirby. “Dan was a passionate supporter of the RV industry with a long-established reputation as one the best in the business. Dan spent over 10 years as co-chair of the Go RVing Coalition, taking a leadership role in shaping the RV industry’s consumer outreach efforts. He was a champion for our industry’s continuous growth, and our thoughts go out to his family and friends – he will truly be missed by so many.”
A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at Calvary Community Church in St. Cloud. Rev. Doug Kern will officiate, and burial will be at Assumption Cemetery in St. Cloud. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home in St. Cloud.
Pearson noted during his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2018 that things weren’t always easy as he worked with RVDA and various other coalitions over the years, but said that everyone he had worked with was “trying to make the industry a better place.”
“In a person’s life you are lucky to say you have been blessed a few times and it really, really means something,” Pearson said. “I had the most wonderful parents who reared seven kids, and instilled in us, ‘if you simply be honest and be nice to people, you will always have a roof over your head and food on your table.’”
Noting that his parents introduced him and his siblings to camping as kids, Pearson also thanked his PleasureLand RV staff members, many of whom he said had been with the company for years.
“They really have allowed me to do the things I do on the national level and be a part of this industry,” he explained.
A celebration of life will be held Friday, October 6, 2023 at Calvary Community Church in St. Cloud at 11 a.m. Rev. Doug Kern will officiate, and burial will be at Assumption Cemetery in St. Cloud. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home in St. Cloud.
News of Pearson’s passing clearly caught many in the industry by surprise, as reflected in the comments of retired supplier, industry activist and Pearson ally Tom Faludy. “Saddened and shocked to hear about the passing of Dan Pearson, who has been so prominent in and influential on the success, growth and unity of the RV Industry,” said Faludy. “He had a great positive impact on me as a supplier, and Dan was such a respected leader that his support of the GO RVing movement during the period of its conception more than 20 years ago really added to its momentum and adoption.
“Dan leaves an exceptional legacy for his candid, practical, common sense views, his authenticity, credibility, bold spirit, virtues and values and, of course, his infectious smile,” said Faludy. “May God bless his soul, and his family.”
A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at Calvary Community Church in St. Cloud, Minn. Rev. Doug Kern will officiate, and burial will be at Assumption Cemetery in St. Cloud. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home in St. Cloud.
Below are two archived RVBusiness videos in which Pearson was interviewed.