Bertha Bontrager Rhodes

“Why not?” I said to my husband Lloyd, who loved new challenges, nearly fifty years ago as we faced the risks of starting a family business. An adventurous, resilient spirit has been in my family for generations, and still is. With a lot of hard work, a business that started as a secret in our barn became Jayco, Inc., the largest privately owned Recreational Vehicle manufacturer in the United States, that continues today to set Industry standards. Why couldn’t the Golden Rule be the answer for our company values, and be the basis for how Jayco related to its employees, dealers, and customers? “Why not?” Our family continued to grow right alongside Jayco. We were busy and happy. We were using company success to forge missionary partnerships as well as industry innovations. In the midst of great professional success and family happiness, tragedy overwhelmed my life. Death is a part of life, of course, as is suffering, but that does not lessen their blows. Transformed by grief, I wondered why and how I was to live on. But then it was as if God said to me, Why not? I will love you and sustain you, and I experienced in very real ways that I have a God who never leaves me.

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