AKRON (July 14, 2014) — Michael J. Connor, former vice president of marketing services at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., died July 12.
Mr. Connor served in the U.S. Marine Corps. after attending Northwestern University, where he earned a journalism degree from the Medill School of Journalism. He had attended Northwestern on a Naval ROTC scholarship and upon graduation was commissioned in the Marines. He earned his pilot wings at Pensacola Naval Air Station and was stationed at the Marine Corps helicopter base in El Toro, Calif., and flew helicopters for the Marines throughout his time serving his country.
After the Marines, Mr. Connor returned to his home town of Akron and joined Firestone, where he spent 34 years in the areas of advertising, marketing and public relations, eventually retiring as vice president of marketing services.
Throughout his career, Mr. Connor was active in Firestone's sports marketing, including going to race tracks, golf courses and bowling alleys around the country promoting the Firestone brand. He provided the face of Firestone wherever “rubber meets the road” to customers, employees, politicians, famous athletes and sports fans everywhere, according to his obituary posted by Hummel Funeral Home in Akron.
Following his retirement from the tire maker, Mr. Connor served as the commissioner of the Professional Bowlers Association for five years.
He also was an active community leader in Akron. During his career, he served as chairman of the Akron Regional Development Board, president of the Akron Roundtable, president of the Board of Trustees of the Akron Golf Charities, and as a trustee for Akron City Hospital, the Akron Community Foundation, the Akron-Canton Regional Airport and the Sisler-McFawn Foundation.
Mr. Connor also served as chairman of the American Golf Classic and, for many years, as the liaison between the PGA tour and tournament golf at Firestone Country Club.
After retirement, he and his wife of 59 years Patricia wintered at their home on the water in Vero Beach, Fla.
They were charter members of Saint Hilary Catholic Church in Akron where Mr. Connor served as an usher for many years, and more recently belonged to Holy Cross Church in Vero Beach during the winter months.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Connor leaves three children, Christopher Connor of Hunting Valley, Ohio, Tricia Connor Selio Arnold of Hudson, Ohio, and Colleen Connor Coyne of Hudson, Ohio; and grandchildren Daniel and Kevin Connor, Erin Connor Reif and her husband Nicholas Reif, John and Emily Selio, and Sean, Katie and Timothy Coyne.
The family will receive guests at Hummel Funeral Home, 500 E. Exchange St., Akron from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on July 15.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held July 16 at Saint Hilary Catholic Church, 2750 W. Market St., Fairlawn, Ohio, at 9:30 a.m., followed by interment at Holy Cross cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Summa Akron City Hospital, 525 E. Market St., Akron, Ohio 44304.