CLEVELANDEdward J. Conrad Jr., 84, founder of Cleveland-based Conrad's Tire Service Inc., died Oct. 24.
A life-long Cleveland-area resident, he had worked in his family's former business, Conrad's Church Goods, with his parents, the late Edward J. Conrad Sr., and Marie M. (St. John) Conrad, and siblings before founding in 1969 the tire dealership that bears his name.
Mr. Conrad began with his first Goodyear tire store in the Cleveland suburb of Parma and continued expanding the tire and automotive business to its current 36 locations in Northeast Ohio.
The company's ubiquitous ads that play regularly in the Cleveland market are punctuated with a well-known ending: They feature a woman whispering the name Conrad's.
Mr. Conrad was a Master Sergeant in the 1st Armored Division at Ft. Hood, Texas, during the Korean Conflict before returning home to start his business career.
Mr. Conrad is survived by his wife Joan A. (Dever), to whom he was married for 64 years; sons Edward J. III (Linda) and Robert (Laurel); daughters Mary Jo Morse (Mike) and Sharon M. Conrad; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and brothers William A. (Marilyn) and Dennis J. (Deborah).
BELMONT, Mass.David Ganz, founder of the Galaxy Tire brand, died Oct. 21. He was 81.
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Am-herst, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and completed flight school in Pensacola, Fla., where he earned his wings as a helicopter pilot.
He then 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 Tireagreed to sell its solid tire businessincluding its Hebei Starbright Co. Ltd. tire plant in Chinafor $10 million to an investors' group that included GPX insiders Bryan, Neil and David Ganz.
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.
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 in promoting the award-winning documentary film, Paper Clips in 2004a piece about tolerance through the lens of the Holocaust, according to the Ganz family.
Survivors include his wife of almost 60 years Judith; sons, Bryan, Neil (Frances) and Eric (Neil); five grandchildren; and brother Sheldon.
PADUCAH, Ky.William Gene Bill Taylor, one of Big O Tires' original franchisees and a member of the Big O Tires Hall of Fame, died Oct. 14 at age 77 after a short illness.
Mr. Taylor began his tire industry career with O.K. Rubber Welders, the predecessor to Big O Tires, in Louisville, Ky., in the 1950s as a 21-year-old tire technician.
At age 23, Mr. Taylor transitioned to being the owner of the store and shortly thereafter advanced to regional vice president of the franchiseowning and operating 20 Big O Tires locations with his business partner and fellow Hall of Fame member, Dohn Graham.
He was inducted into the Big O Hall of Fame in 1997, singled out for his selfless dedication, keen business sense and a flair for marketing and advertising, according to his online biography.
He also helped develop a credit company in the early 1980s owned by the franchisees in his region that offered six-months-same-as-cash. Big O still adheres by this policy, according to his biography.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Freda Elizabeth; daughters Treva Taylor, Diana (Chris) Thiel and Lisa (Craig) Burkhead; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and brother David (Barbara).