BARBERTON, Ohio (March 11, 2014) — William R. Floyd, former executive director of the Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (OTDRA), died on March 7.
Much of Mr. Floyd’s long tire industry career was dedicated to the OTDRA, predecessor organization to the Ohio Tire & Automotive Association (OTAA). Early on he worked for the former Seiberling Rubber Co. and Polson Rubber Co.
“It’s definitely a big loss for the tire industry,” said Gordon Gough, another former executive director of the OTAA who currently serves as president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, of which OTAA is an affiliated member.
“Bill was very good to me when I started working with the association in 2003,” Mr. Gough told Tire Business.
He said he received the message of Mr. Floyd’s death with a “heavy heart” because both Bill and his late wife Joan, who died Jan. 7, 2009, showed him the ropes of running the association and took him under their wings.
He described Mr. Floyd as “just a grand man.”
The Floyds spent some 30 years with the OTDRA, with Mr. Floyd serving as its administrator — first on a part-time basis and later full time — since its founding in 1967. In 1997 the group chose the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants to manage the association upon Mr. Floyd’s retirement.
The council had served as the OTDRA’s lobbyist since 1977 and managed several other trade associations.
The couple — often seen at tire industry trade shows over the years strolling the events hand in hand — also were involved with the former Northeast Ohio Regional Tire Dealers Association (NORTDA), which disbanded in 2004 due to the financial strain of a pending lawsuit.
At the time Jeffrey Smith, NORTDA president, wrote in a letter to association members that the trade group “has decided to disband due to the liability presented by a suit filed against the group and an entertainer it had hired for a Christmas party in 2001.”
Mrs. Floyd, NORTDA executive secretary, had said the association’s board of directors concluded that the cost of insurance to protect the association from litigation “exceeded NORTDA’s potential resources.”
In a 2004 letter to the editor in Tire Business, a tire dealership executive wrote that he lamented the NORTDA’s demise, noting it “has been an association for close to 50 years — the result of hard work by Joan and Bill Floyd, who poured immense time and effort into this organization in attempts to better our industry.”
Mr. Gough said the position of executive director of the OTAA has yet to be refilled so he is overseeing the association’s operations temporarily.
Mr. Floyd was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, moved to nearby Barberton with his parents in 1936 and spent the rest of his life there.
He graduated high school in 1941 and from Akron University in 1949. He was active in the Barberton Junior Chamber of Commerce from 1951-1956, serving as president in 1955, and was recognized as its “Outstanding Man of the Year.”
Mr. Floyd served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a staff sergeant in Europe.
Mr. Gough said the OTAA awarded Mr. Floyd the association’s inaugural Distinguished Service Award in 2012, which was subsequently named after him. The association also awards a scholarship in Mr. Floyd’s name.
The family will receive friends at the Silva-Hostetler Funeral Home, 1199 Wooster Road in West Barberton from 1-3 p.m. on March 16, concluding with a memorial service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Summa Hospice Palliative Care, 1 West 155 Fifth St. NE, Barberton, Ohio 44203.
Mr. Floyd is survived by sons Michael (Denise) of Salesville, Ohio; Gary (Doris) of Barberton; daughter Kathi (Jim) Keifer of McAlisterville, Pa.; and six grandchildren.