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Raymond Crots, a longtime owner and operator of a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) franchise in Summerfield Township, Mich., died Sunday, the Toledo (Ohio) Blade reported. He was 79.

Crots of Ottawa Lake owned and operated the Monroe County KOA Campground from 1969, when he built and opened it after buying the land the year before, until 2008, when he sold it and retired.

The 42-acre park next to the Summerfield Road exit on U.S. 23 served about 100,000 campers per season.

“I camped all my life; I’ve also kind of been an entrepreneur,” Mr. Crots said in a 1988 interview with the Blade. “I came from kind of a poor background. I started with $2,500 and a lot of faith in God.”

Wayne Crots said his father’s life centered around the church and the Bible.

“He started the campground with hopes of helping the church financially,” Wayne Crots said, adding that his father gave about $1 million to the church during his lifetime.

For Raymond Crots, summer months at the campground were nonstop work that included planning various festivals, like the bluegrass festival in August, and workshops held at the park.

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