HOUSTON—Oliver P. Whittington, founder and CEO of GENSCO Aircraft Tires Inc. and a pioneer in recycling used aircraft tires for farm and industrial applications, died April 28 in his Houston home of an apparent heart attack. Known as ``Mr. Whit'' to many, he devoted 35 years to developing markets for used aircraft tires no longer certifiable for flight use.
Employees described Mr. Whittington as a ``true entrepreneur'' who enjoyed working and—at age 80—had continued putting in as many as 13 hours daily, seven days a week at the business.
GENSCO—a division of General Supply & Equipment Co. Inc. founded by Mr. Whittington in 1947 to sell military surplus from World War II—today inventories 180,000 used aircraft tires. Most are purchased from Goodyear's Air Treads Division in Atlanta.
Made into a separate subsidiary about five years ago, GENSCO grew out of its parent company's 35-year-old surplus aircraft tire operations.
In addition to the retreading and repairing of aircraft tires, the company frequently removes one of the dual beads of the tires, thereby making it possible to mount them on the conventional wheels used for most low-speed ground operations.
In addition to his wife, Josephine, Mr. Whittington is survived by two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.