James F. Shea, 77, founder of manufactured housing builder Fairmont Homes Inc. and its RV manufacturing subsidiary, Gulf Stream Coach Inc., one of the nation’s leading privately held RV manufacturers, died Friday (Aug. 13) at his home in South Bend, Ind., after a lengthy illness.
An attorney in Detroit, Shea Sr. founded Fairmont Homes in 1971 in an old sauerkraut factory in Nappanee, Ind. Fairmont entered the RV manufacturing sector in 1982 with the Gulf Steam Sunstream Class A motorhome and the Foxfire travel trailer.
In 2003, Fairmont/Gulf Stream generated $496 million in revenue, according to Indiana Business Magazine. Shea Sr. in 2002 was inducted into the MH/RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.,
Shea is survived by his wife Margaret “Peggy” Shea; a daughter Kathleen Wellin; and four sons, Timothy, Brian, Daniel and James F. Jr. Brian, Daniel and James Jr. each lead separate components of the Nappanee, Ind.-based Fairmont Homes/Gulf Stream organization that Shea Sr. created.
Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. Monday at St. Joseph Funeral Home, South Bend.
Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m., with a memorial service at 7:30 p.m. A funeral mass will be at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 17 at St. Mathew Cathedral, South Bend., with private family burial services to follow.
Condolences may be sent to Gulf Stream Coach Inc., 502 S. Oakland Ave., Nappanee, Ind. 46550. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Riley Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, and the Ara Parseghian Medical Foundation, Tucson, Ariz.