Ron Pierce, founder of Bass Cat Boats and a former mayor of Mountain Home, Arkansas, died on Sunday. He was 81.

Pierce launched Bass Cat Boats in 1971, along with his wife, Jan, from his garage. The plant today in Midway Industrial Park is 30,000sq ft, with more than 100 workers.

“Dad was a great man who cared about people more than most anything,” said Rick Pierce, Ron’s son, in a statement released on Tuesday. “He believed in fairness among all and was proud of his ongoing special interest in any civil, community, or state project. Most importantly, he was a great father and grandfather.”

Correct Craft acquired Bass Cat in March. The deal also included Yar-Craft, a boat line that the Pierces acquired in 2011. “It was always such a pleasure to visit with Ron Pierce; I am truly saddened by this news,” said Bill Yeargin, Correct Craft CEO. “Ron was not only an important leader in the bass industry, but also a dear friend to all at Bass Cat and Yar-Craft, and he will be missed by many.”

Pierce was the mayor of Mountain Home, Arkansas, from 1976 to 1986. He was also appointed to serve on the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission in 2006.

Mountain Home Mayor Joe Dillard said that Pierce initiated many initiatives that helped the city. “He did a lot of good projects for the city that are in place today,” Dillard told local media.