ROME, Ga. — Fredrick Blake "Fred" Taylor, founder of OTR Wheel Engineering in Rome and younger brother of Titan International Inc. Chairman Maurice Taylor Jr., died Dec. 13 at age 70.
A native of Pontiac, Mich., Mr. Taylor worked in his family's business until 1982, when he moved to Georgia and went into business for himself, founding a number of companies in the wheel and tire businesses.
Mr. Taylor had scaled back his role at OTR Wheel Engineering earlier this year, ceding the CEO and president's titles to Tom Rizzi. He retained the chairman's role.
Outside of work, Mr. Taylor was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Rome and served on boards at King University in Bristol, Tenn., Haggai Institute in Norcross, Ga., and Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, N.Y. He was a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and Governor's Board of Workforce Development for the State of Georgia.
Paul Reitz, president and CEO of Titan International Inc. — with which Mr. Taylor had multiple business dealings — expressed "deepest condolences" on Mr. Taylor's death.
Through the various companies he led, Mr. Taylor was associated with Titan both as a customer and a manufacturing representative, Mr. Reitz said. "He forged many key relationships and served Titan and our industry very well throughout his career," the company said.
"… Morry Taylor … said to me many times that Fred was a better salesman than he (Morry) ever was," Mr. Reitz said. "Those of us who knew him can certainly attest to his tremendous ability to connect with people. Fred will be greatly missed."
Mr. Taylor is survived by his wife of over 51 years, Mary Vander Ark Taylor; daughters Kelly Brianne Taylor and Elisabeth June Taylor; sons Chadwick Blake (Lee Davis) Taylor, Eric Blake Taylor and Andrew Blake (Michelle Knowles) Taylor; and seven grandchildren.
The Taylor family requested that memorial contributions be made to Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, N.C., 28607, or Unity Christian School Scholarship Fund, 2960 New Calhoun Highway NE, Rome, Ga., 30161, or to a local charity in his name.