Bob O’Loughlin, Long-Time Northwest Show Producer, Passes Away at 80

TSE STAFF
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Portland, OR – Bob O’Loughlin, the name and face of consumer shows in Portland and Tacoma, WA, passed away of natural causes at his home on August 17. He was 80.

The retired leader of O’Loughlin Trade Shows introduced millions of showgoers to the possibilities of outdoor adventures with shows geared to boating, fishing, hunting, camping and home and garden. The fourth-generation family-owned business is known today for the Portland Home & Garden Show, Portland Boat Show and Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show, all of which have been staged for more than 35 years.

O’Loughlin learned the business from his father, Tom, who started out by producing a “Holiday on Ice” show, boxing events and consumer shows. The first show Bob produced on his own was a Yakima auto show. He was known for his outsized promotional ideas such as a floating boat show and family-friendly show features that once included a free Children’s Trout Pond.

He opened a second office in Tacoma in 1981 to produce shows in the then-new Tacoma Dome. Former Tacoma Dome general manager Mike Gebauer told the Tacoma News Tribune that O’Loughlin’s reputation was such that we could have worked together solely on a handshake.”

Today, the company produces 12 shows annually, including the Portland Fall RV & Van Show and Portland Fall Home & Garden Show in addition to the shows named above.

Bill O’Loughlin, Bob’s son and company president, said that his father’s passion was infectious— although his attention to even the smallest detail sometimes drove family members crazy. “In the end, you knew there was method to the madness,” he said.

O’Loughlin is survived by four sons and a daughter, along with 13 grandchildren. Three of his sons and a grandson work for the fourth-generation family-owned business. Bill O’Loughlin indicated the company would remain a family-owned business.

Contact Bill O’Loughlin at (503) 246-8291 or info@otshows.com