ORINDA, Calif.Joseph Pehanick Sr., owner of East Bay Tire Co. for 20-plus years, died Nov. 20 at age 86 after extended health problems.
After attending Seattle University on a basketball scholarship, Mr. Pehanick was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets of the National Basketball Association. He played a few years with the Bullets and Scranton (Pa.) Miners before returning to the Pacific Northwest to take a job with Boeing Aircraft Co.
Mr. Pehanick married Joelie Ann Fuetsch in 1956 and then went to work for his father-in-law, East Bay Tire founder Joe Fuetsch, in 1959.
He bought the company, a Fairfield, Calif.-based wholesaler and commercial tire dealership, in 1986, and as CEO helped build the company into an international wholesale operation, doing business in Asia, Europe and Australia.
He continued as CEO until 2001, when his son George Pehanick took over.
In 2009 Seattle University inducted Mr. Pehanick into its Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his role in leading the 1953-54 team on a school-record 26-game winning streak.
His family described Mr. Pehanick as a people person and an extraordinary father who enjoyed his family immensely. He was proud of his Slovak heritage and association with Seattle University.
Mr. Pehanick also held office with the California State Tire Dealers Association and was a longtime member of St. Perpetua Catholic church in Lafayette, Calif.
He is survived by his wife; children George (Gretchen); Alice Oliver (Dennis); Noel Walters (Gerard); Joseph (Jodi); Jennifer Buckley (Robert); and Jamie Pehanick (Leonard Gilbert); brothers Albert (Beverly) and Michael (Ann); and 20 grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his sisters Helen Jurbala and Gertrude Kollar; brothers Andrew, Paul and George; and grandchildren Luke and Megan Buckley.