ANOKA, Minn.Thomas Wright Sr., founder, 74, of Anoka-based Wright Tire Service, died Aug. 25 after a long battle with cancer. He was 74.
A long-time board member of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), he was awarded TIA's Ed Wagner Leadership Award last November.
Mr. Wright began his 50-plus year career with the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. retail chain in Minnesota. He learned about selling tires at his first store and moved up the corporate ladder to become store manager and then sales manager for about 400 stores. In 1975, he opened Wright Tire Service in Anoka.
Mr. Wright dedicated 39 years of continued service as a board member for TIA as well as its predecessors, the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and Tire Association of North America (TANA).
As an executive officer of TANA, he was instrumental in the merger of TANA and the International Tire & Rubber Association to form TIA, the association said.
In 1979, he was president of the North Central Tire Dealers & Suppliers Association where he worked with the legislature to help get a scrap tire resolution. His membership on their board continued until his passing.
Mr. Wright was very active in strengthening the relationship between state/provincial associations and TIA, the association said.
We are deeply saddened by the news of Tom's passing, said Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Wright family. Tom was a great leader and friend who gave so much to his community on a local level and to our industry on a national level. His dedication will always be remembered.
Mr. Wright also was past president of the Anoka Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Wright is survived by his wife Janice (Keillor); son Thomas Jr. (Debbie); daughter Karla (Eric) Thomsen; son-in-law Steven Hunt; 11 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and brothers Brent (Joan) and Jerre (Cheryl) Wright. He was preceded in death by daughter Shannon Hunt and brother Jay Wright.