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Saying goodbye to an old friend

Posted by Kaitlyn Egan on 10:08 AM on August 1, 2014


jack resized 600A great loss is being felt by the Habitat for Humanity community. Jack Wolters, founder of the RV Care-A-Vanners, passed away at the age of 90 in June.

The RV Care-A-Vanners is a volunteer program for anyone who travels in a recreational vehicle, wants to build Habitat houses and have fun doing it. RV Care-A-Vanners welcomes people of all ages, from all walks of life who want to pick up a hammer and help change lives.

The group travels around the United States and Canada, helping local Habitat for Humanity affiliates build hundreds of houses annually.

Started by Jack and his wife Lois in 1984, the group is now 5,000 strong with more than 205 builds a year. The group also works with Disaster Response and Safety Training. The Care-A-Vanners recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary in April with a build and rally.

Jack was born in New York City in 1924. He served in the Navy in World War II and was a dedicated Habitat volunteer, working in the United States and internationally for 30 years. He is survived by his wife Marlene, his children and grandchildren.

Locally, there will be a memorial service held at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church in St. Paul on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 3 p.m. Jack undoubtedly touched many lives through his good work, and anyone who would like to attend can stop by.

careavan resized 600

Mary Vandeveld, RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator, wrote the following memoriam for the group’s June newsletter.

We have lost the founder of the RV Care-A-Vanner program. Jack Wolters passed away on June 10, 2014.

Shortly after their retirement, Jack and his wife Lois, whom we lost in 2002, had the opportunity to hear Millard Fuller speak in North Carolina. That inspired them to travel to Americus, Georgia, where Jack worked building homes and Lois helped out in Millard's office. During a brainstorming session with Millard, Jack and Lois came up with the idea that some of their RV friends could help local affiliates with their building programs and in 1984, the Gypsies were formed. The name was changed to the RV Care-A-Vanners in 1989 and we were off and running.

As you know, in April we celebrated 25 years of service with a build and rally in Springfield, Missouri. I had the pleasure of visiting with Jack on the phone a few months before that event. He was not well enough to travel, but I wanted to make sure he knew that we would be honored to have him in attendance. As a result of that phone call I made to Jack, he sent me a packet of information with some of the early history of the Care-A-Vanners. That information is now safety tucked away in the RV Care-A-Vanner archives.

Please keep Jack and the Wolters family in your prayers and be thankful that what he and Lois started has grown into this wonderful program we call the RV Care-A-Vanners.

Safe travels, Jack! 

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Tags: Volunteer Spotlight, Archive

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