Marathon Coach owner and Chairman Robert Schoellhorn passed away peacefully at his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 11. He was 88.
“Dad was always passionate about our Marathon family and the beautiful coaches we create,” said Marathon Coach owner and President Steve Schoellhorn. “He developed close friendships with so many coach owners and employees, and words can’t express how much he enjoyed spending time with so many people over the years. He will be missed greatly.”
Born in Philadelphia in 1928, Schoellhorn began his career by studying chemistry and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences. He served in the United States Army as a chemist and then worked for 26 years for American Cyanamid, an industry leader in its time. In 1973, he joined Abbott Laboratories, a worldwide major pharmaceutical company. Schoellhorn’s 17 years of executive service included more than 10 years as CEO and chairman of the board.
Upon retirement he pursued an interest in RVing, seeing the country and experiencing a new lifestyle. He first purchased a traditional Class A motorhome, but after several journeys realized that he desired higher quality and better drivability. When he stumbled upon Marathon Coach in Oregon, Schoellhorn was impressed with the advanced bus conversions, which were similar to private jets and custom yachts.
He bought his first Marathon conversion in 1991, and was so impressed with the new coach that shortly thereafter he purchased a minority share in the company. He became sole owner of Marathon Coach in 1994 and used his worldwide business expertise to accelerate Marathon’s expansion, including building the company’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Coburg, Ore. During Schoellhorn’s tenure, the company built and distributed over 1,000 custom bus conversions.
Schoellhorn is survived by his wife Kay; three children, Robert W. Schoellhorn, Jennifer Kovalenko and Steve Schoellhorn; many grandchildren, other family and countless friends.
He served on the board of Pillsbury, International Telephone & Telegraph Corp., and Shell Oil Co. He was past-chairman and director of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association and the Health Industry Manufacturers Association. In addition, Schoellhorn was committed to numerous charitable organizations, including the Cradle Society, University of North Carolina REX Heart and Vascular Hospital Campaign, and The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
A celebration to honor Schoellhorn’s life with will be held at Marathon Coach headquarters in Oregon this summer.