CLEVELAND-Raymond C. Firestone, former chairman and CEO of his family's tire company, died of heart failure Sept. 9 at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland. He was 86. The fourth of five sons of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. founder Harvey S. Firestone, Raymond Firestone was the last family member to participate in the active management of the company.
He began his career with Firestone after graduating from Princeton University in 1933, starting in the company's Los Angeles sales office.
Mr. Firestone held increasingly responsible positions in California, Virginia and Tennessee, and was named a director of the company in January 1942. Three months later he joined the Air Transport Command and piloted transport planes in the U.S. and overseas until his discharge in 1944.
In 1949, he was transferred to Akron as vice president of research and development and became an executive vice president in 1954. He was president of Firestone from 1957 to 1964, CEO from 1963 to 1973 and chairman from 1966 to 1976; he retired from the board in 1977.
During his tenure at the company's helm, 1963-1976, Firestone's annual sales grew to $3.9 billion from $1.4 billion.
As a philanthropist, Mr. Firestone supported numerous educational, civic and humanitarian organizations and institu-tions in Ohio and elsewhere. He maintained homes in Bath, Ohio, near Akron, and in Southern Pines, N.C.
Mr. Firestone's first wife, Laura, died in 1960. His survivors include: his second wife, Jane; two daughters; one step-daughter; four grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren.