Francis “Fran” J. Roberts, 81, of Shelburne, MA passed peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family beside him on Wednesday October 13, 2021. He was born on April 3, 1940 to the late Frank and Helen Roberts of Greenfield, MA.
He became an Eagle Scout and was selected to attend the Boy Scout National Convention in Ervine, CA. He was a life guard for 3 years at the Greenfield swimming pool while attending high school.
After graduating from Kimball Union Academy in 1959 he started a new business as Long View Recreational Vehicles. He began with 3 Apache tent trailers that were delivered on a train, required assembly and were available for sale at his parent’s Long View Tower/Gift shop in Greenfield, MA. This tower with a 3-state view from the top became the logo for Long View RV. With a $600 investment, Fran would create the largest and oldest family owned and operated RV dealership today.
Fran married the love of his life, Shirley Gutkowski, on August 23, 1962. Shirley was a Registered nurse, who graduated from Franklin County Hospital School of Nursing. Together they would establish an incredible RV business.
Fran graduated from Nichols College in 1964. He was employed by the Advertising Department of Millers Falls Tool Co. while selling RVs in his spare time. While at the Greenfield location the Roberts organized a Coachman camping club known as the Long View Roamers, Chapter 134. In 1975 Fran and Shirley were named Dealer Sponsor of the Year and awarded in the Market Penetration Contest. Fran also served as a director for the RV Dealers of America Association.
In 1984 the business moved to a 5-acre site in Northampton, MA. In 1993 they acquired a prime location in Windsor Locks, CT. The name of the company was changed to Long View RV Superstores now that they had two major locations. The CT location has been headed by son Frank who has over 30 years in the RV business.
Many RV manufacturers were added over the years and companies like Coachman, Coleman and Gulfstream offered incentive trips to the top performers. The Roberts family, including their son and daughter, were able to travel the world over the next 20 years. Some of their most memorable trips were to Alaska, Australia, Austria, Bermuda, China, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Rhine River Cruise and Wind Star and Wind Spirit sailing ship cruises. “A life well lived and memories to last a lifetime!”
In 2000 a sales outlet was opened in Canaan, NY. In 2004 a new location in Leesburg, FL followed by another location in Kissimmee, FL and just outside Tampa in Dover, FL. The Tampa location was on a 22 acre lot just off I-4 on McIntosh Road. This was surely the “Taj Mahal” of RV dealerships.
It is the belief of the Roberts Family that the dedication to their customers has led them to grow as rapidly as they have. They proudly remain a locally owned and operated family business serving the needs of RV families across the country.
Fran leaves behind his loving wife Shirley of 59 years. A son, Frank and his wife Suzanne of Connecticut along with their two children, Alexis and Frank Jr. A daughter, Jackie and her husband Todd of Utah. Fran also leaves several loving nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday, 10/20 from 3pm -7pm at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal Street Greenfield.
In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham, MA 02452. For Condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com