BELMONT, Mass. (Oct. 22, 2015) — David Ganz, founder of the Galaxy Tire brand, died Oct. 21 at his home in Belmont. He was 81.
Mr. Ganz's family said the cornerstone of his life “and the crux of his character was his overwhelming passion” — especially his love for aviation. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and completed flight school in Pensacola, Fla., where he earned his wings as a helicopter pilot. While there Mr. Ganz was awarded the Navy Marine Corps medal for bravery, the highest medal awarded during peace time — an honor reserved only for those who risk their life to save another, according to the Ganz family.
After reaching the rank of captain, Mr. Ganz was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps and entered the family tire business, which he ran for more than 50 years. He invented and developed the Galaxy Tire brand for off-road and agricultural tires, according to the family.
In late 2009 GPX International Tire Corp. — the former Galaxy Tire — agreed to sell its solid tire business — including its Hebei Starbright Co. Ltd. tire plant in China — for $10 million to an investors' group that included GPX “insiders” Bryan, Neil and David Ganz, according to a Tire Business news story.
GPX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 26, 2009, after suffering losses in fiscal 2007 and 2008 and seeing a considerable portion of its business disappear after the U.S. imposed double-digit duties on OTR tires GPX was sourcing from China.
Two months later the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts approved the sale of GPX's Canadian distribution business and industrial/OTR tire manufacturing assets, clearing the way for GPX to wrap up business before year-end.
With his love of flying a constant in his life, the family said Mr. Ganz continued to pilot his own plane, for both business and pleasure, for another 40 years after leaving the service.
The family called Mr. Ganz a “fiercely passionate person” who “also had an unwavering sense of compassion, and he devoted his life to helping others, particularly where it came to causes of patriotism and injustice.” He was involved with Combined Jewish Philanthropies; he endowed a research chair at St. Jude's Children's hospital; he served on the boards of the Israel bond organization, CAMERA; and was chair of the board of JINSA (the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs).
Mr. Ganz also was a large contributor to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; the Marine Corps Museum in Washington, D.C.; MEMRI (Middle East Media Reporting Institute); and many other organizations. He also was involved with promoting the award-winning documentary film, “Paper Clips” in 2004 — a piece about tolerance through the lens of the Holocaust, according to the Ganz family.
Mr. Ganz leaves his wife of almost 60 years Judith; sons, Bryan and his wife Susan (deceased) of Weston, Mass., Neil and wife Frances of Danville, Calif., and Eric and his husband Neil Jacobs of New York, N.Y.; five grandchildren; and brother Sheldon Ganz.
The family suggests donations may be made in Mr. Ganz's name to CAMERA at P.O. Box 35040, Boston. MA 02135 or to Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) 1307 New York Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C.. 20005.