TAMPA, Fla.Olin Mott, founder of Olin Mott Tire Stores and known in and around Tampa for his many philanthropic endeavors, died July 2 in hospice care at age 92.
Mr. Mott, the recipient of Tire Business' Tire Dealer Humanitarian award in 2002, was a member of the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Kemahameha in Ha-waii during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. He was wounded while helping man a machine gun defending the base from Japanese fighters.
After the war, Mr. Mott and his wife Doris moved to Tampa, where he found work with a local retread equipment maker. He worked there a few years before striking out on his own.
He opened his first tire store, Elkes-Mott Tire Co., in downtown Tampa in 1955 in partnership with a local car dealer.
In 1962 the partnership ended, and Mr. Mott renamed the business Olin Mott Tire Co. He went on to expand the business to six locations in the Tampa area. His son Rick has owned and run the business for more than a decade.
It was Mr. Mott's philanthropic nature, however, that made him well known in Florida.
Among his philanthropic activities:
c Helping to establish and keep running Joshua House, a residential facility in nearby Lutz, Fla., for abused, neglected and abandoned children and teenage moms and their children;
c Serving on the Florida State Fair Authority, including co-founding the Fair's Horse Show Association;
c Supporting University of South Florida athletics and youth soccer;
c Supporting the Future Farmers of America (FFA), the local 4-H Club and other agricultural, environmental and social service activities.
In 2003 he was awarded an honorary Florida FFA degree for his outstanding support of FFA.
Mr. Mott also was instrumental in starting the Michelin-Joshua House Golf Classic held annually for the past 20 years to raise funds for Joshua House and other charities. The event generated donations exceeding $200,000 each of the past several years.
He is survived by his wife Doris; son Rick; daughter Linda Wren; sister Vassie Sue Wadsworth; and four grandchildren.