Patrick W. Rooney, former chairman and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., will be missed as much for his friendship as his contributions to the tire industry, according to those who knew him.
Mr. Rooney, 67, died from a heart condition the morning of Dec. 18 at his Findlay home after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Sondra and four children.
``Pat brought great honor to our company and community, and he served both with dignity. We'll miss him greatly,'' said Thomas Dattilo, who was recruited for his current positions as Cooper chairman and CEO by Mr. Rooney in 1998.
During his life-long career with Cooper, which spanned 44 years, Mr. Rooney helped the company become one of the most profitable tire makers in the world.
In 1993, when he turned direct management of Cooper Tire over to then-president, John Fahl, the business had sales of $999 million and operating profit of $154 million.
Under Mr. Rooney's tenure as chairman and CEO, Cooper purchased Avon Tyres Ltd., signed professional golfer Arnold Palmer as its spokesman, and forged an alliance with Pirelli S.p.A.
In 1999, Cooper posted record sales of $2.2 billion, a 17.1-percent increase over year-earlier figures.
Mr. Rooney also sat at the helm as the tire maker expanded its original equipment automotive parts business through its acquisition of the former Standard Products Co. and Siebe Automotive, which pushed total company sales to $3.6 billion.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the former Tire Association of North America, which became the Tire Industry Association last July after its merger with the International Tire & Rubber Association. He also was an active member of the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Society before his retirement from Cooper in June 2000.
``All of us at Cooper felt a sense of loss when Pat retired, but his passing is a personal loss to me,'' Mr. Fahl said in a written statement.
Mr. Rooney was truly a man of honor who supported the Findlay community and Cooper to the utmost, he added. ``He will be greatly missed by many.''
Memorials can be made to the Patrick Rooney Scholarship Fund at the University of Findlay, 1000 N. Main Street, Findlay, Ohio 45840.