FALLS CHURCH, Va.-Frank Holeman, 76, founding director of the Tire Industry Safety Council, died of a heart attack Sept. 23 at his home in Falls Church. During his tenure at TISC from 1969 to his retirement in 1987, Mr. Holeman was one of the best-known personalities in the tire industry.
He led industry response to consumerist complaints in the 1970s and 1980s, and also spearheaded efforts to disseminate tire safety information to print and broadcast media across the U.S.
After a 27-year career as a journalist for the New York Daily News, Mr. Holeman was hired as the first director of TISC, which was created and still operates under the aegis of the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
The council's main purpose at first was to counter anti-industry claims made by Ralph Nader and other consumer advocates. Standing 6 feet 7 inches tall, with a rumbling bass voice and trademark bow tie, Mr. Holeman became known throughout Washington as the courtly, calm voice of the tire industry.
Later, as attacks on tire makers abated, Mr. Holeman shifted the focus of TISC to being a clearinghouse for tire safety and consumer tire care information. During his tenure, the council distributed more than 100,000 tire gauge kits to U.S. motorists.
``Frank Holeman was a giant of a man in every sense of the word,'' said RMA President Thomas E. Cole, who served as RMA Tire Division vice president during Mr. Holeman's tenure at TISC. ``The tire industry has lost a great friend and loyal advocate.''
Mr. Holeman is survived by his wife, Larie, and four children.