The Texas Recreational Vehicle Association (TRVA) announced the passing of Texas RV legend Thomas “Tom” James Watters, Sr., who passed away last Friday, Sept. 29.
Watters served as one of the initial organizers of TRVA during its formative years beginning in 1974, according to the announcement. He was elected president of TRVA twice, serving initially in 1979-80 and once again 1991-92.
In 1980, Watters was named a Lifetime Member of TRVA by its membership and that same year he was presented with TRVA’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his many contributions to the RV industry.
TRVA’s highest honor, the W.H. “Bill” White Award, which is presented to those individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the development and preservation of the RV industry in Texas throughout their careers, was presented to Watters in 1995 in honor of his devotion to the industry.
These accolades only provide a glimpse of Watters’ altruistic nature.
Among those expressing their thoughts on Watters’ passing was TRVA Executive Director Phil Elam, who said his friendship with Watters dates back to 2013 when Elam joined the association.
“One of my earliest phone calls was from Tom. He phoned to welcome me to the industry and to offer his services should I ever need to, as he said, ‘visit about things.’ That conversation launched many such conversations over these last ten and a half years for Tom’s depth of knowledge and wisdom became so important to me,” Elam said.
“Tom was never engaged in anything for his own personal gain for that was not in his DNA. Instead, Tom worked for the betterment of the whole regardless if his work was in his business or personal life,” Elam continued. “It is said the mettle of a man or woman is not gauged in their accomplishments necessarily, but in what they gave of their time, talent, and treasure to the betterment of their family, their personal relationships, their profession and to the betterment of mankind. Tom was just one of those rare humans who just gave his all to everything he touched and he will be sorely missed.”
“Tom touched the lives of all those who were fortunate enough to have known him,” Elam added. “Perhaps former TRVA President Ed Wilkins said it best of Tom, ‘…he was one of a kind, a warrior, our loss of a dear friend is Heaven’s gain…he has earned his wings many times over.'”
Also expressing his thoughts was Phil Ingrassia, president of the National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), who said, “Tom was a tremendous supporter of continuing education for RV dealers through both the RV Learning Center and the RVDA Convention/Expo. He was one of the RV industry’s pioneers in promoting professionalism and customer service in the F&I department.”
Click here for Watters’ obituary and funeral services, which will take place Oct. 10-011 in Texas.