Elkhart Businessman And Philanthropist Art Decio Dies At The Age Of 90

Nov 6, 2020

Art Decio, (1930-2020)
Credit PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

The City of Elkhart released news today that a long-time business leader and philanthropist, Art Decio, died at age 90. Decio founded Skyline Corporation which contributed to the city's role in becoming a leading location for the production of RVs and manufactured housing. 

(You can read the city's release below.) 

The City of Elkhart lost a giant today. Art Decio, longtime community leader, philanthropist, and champion of Elkhart passed away today at the age of 90.

Art’s contributions to the arts, education, community development will be felt not only in Elkhart, but throughout the Michiana region.

“Art Decio was a giant in Elkhart. But it never felt that way when you talked to him; you were just talking to Art. His legacy is building community, service, and love for his home that will make Elkhart a better place for many years to come. I am humbled by his contributions and will carry his spirit with me as I continue to serve this great city. We mourn with his family, friends, and with all of Elkhart today.”

– Mayor Rod Roberson

Art Decio speaks to a group at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart in Dec. 2019.The City of Elkhart officially renamed the Donor Lobby of the Lerner Theatre after Decio.
Credit Annacaroline Caruso/WVPE

Notre Dame also issued a statement following Decio's death.

(That statement is posted below.) 

Arthur J. Decio, a longtime Trustee of the University of Notre Dame, died today. He was 90.

“Art was a cherished, wise and generous friend of Notre Dame, and a dear friend to me personally,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “He likewise lent his many talents to innumerable civic, religious, educational and humanitarian causes here in the South Bend-Elkhart region, statewide and nationally. My prayers are with his family and many friends as we mourn his passing while celebrating a life so very well lived.”

Decio was the retired chairman, president, director and chief executive officer of Skyline Corp., an Elkhart, Indiana-based producer of manufactured housing and recreational vehicles. He joined the company in 1952 when it operated out of a small Elkhart welding garage and grew it into a national leader in the industry with eight operating divisions across the country.

Decio was elected to Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees in 1971 and was elevated to emeritus status in 2001. A Notre Dame parent, he was a founding member of the University’s Cavanaugh Council and a generous benefactor, including gifts for the construction of Decio Faculty Hall and the Patricia George Decio Theatre in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. In addition to the Cavanaugh Council, he also was a member of the President’s Circle and John Cardinal O’Hara Society and supported the Snite Museum, Student Emergency Relief Fund, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund and Hesburgh Libraries. He received a Notre Dame honorary degree in 1975.

In addition to his service to Notre Dame, Decio was a past chairman and trustee emeritus of Holy Cross College, a trustee of Hillsdale College and an advisory board member of Indiana University South Bend. The Brothers of Holy Cross and Holy Cross College bestowed the first Cross of Hope Award on Decio in 1996 and an honorary degree in 2019. He also received honorary degrees from Hillsdale, Indiana State University, Purdue University, Saint Mary’s College, Vincennes University and Salem College.

He received presidential appointments to three national commissions and served on the boards of more than 45 organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Other organizations to benefit from his service were the Elkhart General Hospital Foundation, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and Nibco Inc.

Decio was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Patricia.

Arrangements are pending.