RV Journalist Pioneer Don Magary Dies

The father of all RV-related journalism, former RV News Magazine Publisher and Editor-In-Chief Don Magary died March 12, 2024. Magary and fellow RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee Dan Holt launched the first RV trade magazine in the industry, RV News, in 1976.

Magary was born Feb. 26, 1938. He was the oldest living RV journalist until his passing at the Brookdale Senior Living Center in Chandler, Arizona. He was 86 years old.

Very few in the RV industry shaped the RV industry like Magary. Through thousands of articles, Magary worked to help companies and RV business people learn about each other for the betterment of the industry. He highlighted business trends, technology, RV politics, parts/accessories and vehicles at a time when nobody else had realized that was needed.

A picture of Don Magary, founder of RV News.

He shaped how RVs are built today. He shaped business relationships that ultimately led to what parts and accessories suppliers now provide for RV manufacturing and the aftermarket. By providing information, he shaped the professionalism of the industry’s entire RV dealer body.

Retired RVIA Executive Vice President Bill Garpow was responsible for the association’s public relations and government affairs.

He said, “The industry should be very happy we were blessed with having Don Magary to work in our industry. He consistently brought to light issues the industry needed to address that likely would have been overlooked without his reporting. When I was involved in the industry, the industry was experiencing a period of strong growth. Don was responsible for some of that.”

Magary was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2008. His accomplishments included:

  • Launching the first RV business magazine
  • Creating the largest ongoing training trade show in the RV industry – what is now called the RV Dealer’s Association Convention/Expo
  • Serving on numerous association committees for more than two decades in the RV Warehouse Distributor’s Association (WDA) and the RV Aftermarket Association
  • Serving as a board of director for more than a decade at the RV/MH Hall of Fame
  • Creating one of the first and most successful RV portal websites in the industry: RVamerica.com
  • Championing issues such as dealer training, RV standards, RV manufacturer/RV dealer relationships and RV consumer marketing.
  • Winning the RV/MH Hall of Fame Darrel Searer Spirit Award in 2015.

“With more than 50 years in the RV industry, no journalist served the industry as long or as deeply as Don Magary,” RV News CEO and Publisher Dana Nelsen said. “All RV journalists, whether trade journalists or consumer journalists followed Don’s footsteps. He made the path for all of us to follow. Even now, there are only a handful of us who have served the RV industry for 20 years or more, which is half as long as Magary’s career.”

A picture of an RV News magazine page from 1981.
An RV News magazine page from 1981.

Living RV journalists who have written about the industry for 20 years or more now include: writer Garth Cane (retired), Publisher Bob Livingston (retired), Editor Norm Rosen, Publisher Sherman Goldenberg (retired) and Nelsen.

RV/MH Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer said, “Don had a tremendous impact on the whole industry. That can’t be overstated. Most of the time I spent working with Don was related to the Hall of Fame. He handled all the public relations that helped us get out of debt. It was a period where the RV/MH Hall of Fame was in danger of disappearing. Don helped save it.

“One of my first industry meetings in 1974, when I was working for Dometic, Dan Holt and Don Magary were there,” Searer said. “My earliest memories in the industry involve Don Magary covering the industry. Back then, those two were the only ones doing it. They were everywhere and they were covering everything.”

Magary’s former spouse, Patrica Magary, died Dec. 17, 2023. His only son, Erin Magary, died several years earlier. Magary is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

RV News magazine spread
If you are employed in the RV industry and not a member of the trade media, Subscribe for Free:
  • Daily business news on the RV industry and the companies and people that encompass it
  • Monthly printed and/or digital magazine filled with in-depth articles to increase profit margins
  • Statistics, data and other RV business trade information
Scroll to Top