Aram Koltookian, who spent two decades working at Thor Industries for Keystone RV, Dutchmen and KZ RV, unexpectedly died Wednesday.
Thor Industries announced the news, saying the company did so “with heavy hearts and great sadness.”
Thor said Koltookian, the president and CEO of KZ, was passionately dedicated to his family. He leaves behind his wife of 22 years, Shelley, and two sons, Zaven and Armen. Aram Koltookian was 53.
“The loss felt by his passing cannot be put into words,” Thor Industries said.
Per Koltookian’s wishes, he will be cremated. Elkhart Cremation Services will handle his arrangements.
A celebration of life will take place Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. ET at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. All are welcome, his obituary stated.
“He was a devoted husband, amazing father, loyal friend and philanthropic community leader,” his obituary said. “Aram had many interests but particularly enjoyed spending time with family and friends, being outdoors and his automobile collection. He will be remembered for his compassion and generosity, especially to children’s sports and his Armenian Culture.”
Koltookian grew up working at his father’s RV dealership in New Hampshire. He was hired by Coachmen RV in 1994 and spent nine years with the company before joining Keystone RV.
Koltookian began his Keystone RV career as a product manager for the Montana, Cougar, Outback and Springdale brands. Five years later he was named general manager of those same brands.
“Aram has been a trusted friend and colleague for nearly 30 years,” Thor President and CEO Bob Martin said. “We started in the industry together as sales reps at Coachmen RV company and transitioned to Keystone, where we shared a sales territory.”
Dutchmen came calling in 2013 and named Koltookian its executive vice president. Koltookian helped integrate Dutchmen’s operations with Keystone RV. When Thor bought KZ RV in 2014, Koltookian moved to KZ as the company’s chief operating officer. The next year, he was promoted to president, where he spent the past eight years.
“Aram played a notable role in the success of our company, and, more significantly, has always been an important friend to my family,” Martin said. “That will be a statement of which I’ll be immensely proud for the rest of my life.”
Thor Industries said Matt Zimmerman, the company’s North American RV Group manager, will assume KZ’s president and CEO roles on an interim basis.
“The KZ team is grateful for the partnerships and support of their dealers and suppliers,” Thor Industries said, “and looks forward to continuing the path to success shaped by Aram, together.”
The company touted Koltookian’s “tremendous work ethic” and ability to consider unique solutions to challenges. Thor said his long-term commitment to KZ, Thor and the company’s dealers and consumers was integral to his personal and professional success, “and truly made him one of a kind.
Said Martin, “Aram will be deeply missed by many.”
Koltookian is also survived by his father, Zaven, two sisters and numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Elkhart County Humane Society or the Sweet Pea Foundation.