Services were held Monday in Missoula, Mont., for Elmer Frame, who co-founded the Missoula KOA.
Frame had been a KOA franchisee longer than any of the other current owners. He was 80 years old.
Frame, who is survived by his wife, Margie, founded the Missoula KOA in 1967. He was well known by campground owners and operators across the country for his involvement in various boards and committees, including the KOA Owners Association, the KOA President’s Advisory Council and the KOA Marketing Committee. He also took leadership roles in Montana’s tourism industry, serving for several years on the Montana Tourism Advisory Council.
“He was well liked and well respected,” said Pat Hittmeier, KOA’s vice president of franchise services. “He was somebody you could go to and bounce ideas off of. He would give you honest answers that were well thought out.”
Elmer and Margie Frame were among the very first KOA franchisees when they converted their 39-space campground to the KOA system in 1967. Never one to sit still, Frame expanded the campground to 200 sites over three decades, making it one of the jewels of the KOA system. Frame’s daughter, Laurie Wisby, has been running the park with her husband, Dale, since 1995.
“Elmer’s history is pretty much the history of KOA,” said KOA President and CEO Jim Rogers, who attended Frame’s services on Monday. “The loss of such a giant in our industry will be deeply felt, but how fortunate for the KOA family that we all were able to benefit from a person of Elmer’s caliber for the past 37 years.”