SEATTLE (Jan. 17, 2013) — Norval 'Tink' Phelps Jr., 78, owner and COO of Phelps Tire Co., died Jan. 12 after several years of deteriorating health.
Mr. Phelps' father, Norval Phelps Sr., founded Phelps Tire in 1947, and Mr. Phelps Jr. took over as owner in July 1970 after his father's death. What had started as a gas station selling a few pickup truck tires became a retreading facility when Mr. Phelps Jr. began hot capping passenger and pickup tires in the back of the shop, the company said.
In 1976 he became a Bandag Inc. dealer and was recognized in 1984 with the Bandag Award of Excellence and again in 1989 as a Bandag Classic Dealer.
In 1999 Mr. Phelps became one of the first Michelin Retread Technologies (MRT) retreaders, and after expanding his business into Alaska, he opened an Oliver retread shop in 2011. Today Phelps Tire has four commercial locations in Washington and three in Alaska in addition to the retread business.
Mr. Phelps served on various boards and associations within the tire industry. The company said ownership of Phelps Tire will remain in the family estate and continue to be run by Mr. Phelps' son-in-law, Charlie Allfrey, who has been its president since 2003 and is the only family member currently working in the business.
Mr. Phelps is survived by Betty, his wife of 55 years; four children: son Jim and daughters Sarah Resor, Liz Breckow and Kay Allfrey; and 10 grandchildren. In lieu of gifts, charitable donations can be made to the United Gospel Mission (Seattle) or Northwest Harvest.