EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was submitted by Curt Curtis, president of RV Country, to RVBusiness following Monday’s (May 3) news of the passing of Paul Evert (March 1, 1930, to May 2, 2021). A long time RVDA member who founded Paul Evert’s RV Country on the West Coast, Evert retired in 2018 and persuaded Curtis to drop his name from the dealership’s marquee. The dealership now boasts 11 locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Evert’s funeral services are set for 1 p.m (Pacific Time), Monday, May 10, at Clovis Hills Community Church, 10590 N Willow Ave, Clovis Calif. 93619. In addition, the Fresno, California’s ABC television affiliate generated this video report of Evert’s passing.
Paul started this business himself, with humble beginnings and a good value system from his parents. Paul’s father, Jacob, was an immigrant from Russia who along with his brother, had to escape Russia after the fall of the Russian Monarchy. Jacob was a highly educated man and spoke five languages. After immigrating to the U.S. and working in New York and Pennsylvania, he became a college professor of world history and Bible history at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan.
The Great Depression came and Tabor College had to close. He moved his family to the Reedley area, where many German Mennonite families had settled. His father and mother had to take whatever work they could get during those tough times. They picked fruit and worked in the packing houses. His father did part time ministry. With a tight budget they were able to purchase a small farm. Paul is basically a local. who grew up in these humble and enriching circumstances.
When he was 17, Paul was involved in a car accident and as a result lost an arm. Rather than let this become a restriction for the rest of his life, he used it, along with his parent’s struggles in reestablishing themselves, as an inspiration to succeed.
As a young man he attended Fresno City College and later Fresno State College. He was very motivated to make money and left college to work for Schenley Distillers, also the makers of Roma Wine. Paul also worked part time in the automotive business while working at Schenley Distillers in the 1950’s. He opened his own used sports car business in 1961 and established a high standard of selling dependable used cars. Paul had sublet a portion of property to an RV dealer and when that dealer wanted to leave in 1977 Paul bought-out the dealer’s inventory and has been in RV and car business ever since.
Today, the dealership’s name has changed from Paul Evert’s RV Country to RV Country and has four partners with ownership: Paul Evert, Curt Curtis, Dale Cantrell and Charlie Power. Through Paul’s leadership they now have nine dealerships in five different West Coast states
Paul was always a forward thinker and was definitely a pioneer in the RV industry. He was always willing to spend the money necessary to offer customers a great buying experience and to provide all the necessary resources to his employees. He was one of the first to step out and build a nice large facility with lots of service bays back in the early 1990’s. The dealership won Dealer of the Year in 1994 and many other awards through the years. He enjoyed other forward thinkers at the time with Buddy Gregg, Harvey Mitchell, Larry McClain and others. He has always had the passion for RV’s and was a strong force in his day with lots of drive and respect. He also was a giving man with contributions and helping others.
Paul was a strong mentor to primary partner Curt Curtis who has been with him for almost 34 years. Curt says, “Paul was hard on me at times but all for the greater good of challenging me to be the best, have the greatest work ethic, and taking care of our employees and customers. He has been a huge inspiration to me and I will think of him always and lead by example as he taught me to do”. He used to love to bring people to his office and show off his ostriches, emus and rheas. He called them his advisors.
We will be having an invitation-only formal dinner in honor of Paul Evert. He did everything first class and we want to do the same for him. We will have an awesome sit-down dinner with fine linens, candles, flowers etc. He will look down and surely say that we put on a great event in his honor.
Paul will surely be missed but his legacy will never be forgotten. His team is proud to continue on that legacy and make him proud. We will miss you Paul Evert.