Sun City residents who take their recreational vehicles to campgrounds throughout Arizona owe a debt of gratitude to Jack E. Denton, Your West Valley News, Sun City, Ariz., reported.

Denton, who helped establish Arizona’s first campground industry association as well as the national organization that later became the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), died Aug. 26 in Peoria, Ariz., and was remembered Tuesday (Sept. 11) during a service at the First United Methodist Church in Glendale.

“Jack was considered the father of our industry in Arizona,” said Jo Ann Mickelson, executive director of the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “He was truly a treasure that we all adored. Jack never missed any meetings or conventions. We could always count on him for support.”

Denton built the Flagstaff KOA in 1967, five years after the founding of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). The campground, located at an elevation of 7,000 feet at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, is one of the oldest continuously owned KOAs in the 484-park KOA system in North America.

Denton was a charter member of Arizona ARVC’s precursor, the Arizona Campground Owners Association, which he helped form in 1975. He served on the state organization’s board of directors for more than 30 years.

Active on legislative issues, he was considered instrumental in passing legislation to create a Scenic Byways program not only in Arizona, but across the U.S., Mickelson said. He was also a strong advocate for private parks as they struggled with competitive issues involving public parks.

“He was on a first-name basis with the Forest Service in Flagstaff and was always partnering with them for the benefit of campgrounds and RV parks in northern Arizona,” Mickelson said.