COLUMBIA, Mo. — R. Ward McKnight, founder of McKnight Tire & Auto Center in Jefferson City, Mo., died Sept. 7. He was 88.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean war, Mr. McKnight started his career in sales at a Goodyear Tire Auto Center store in Birmingham, Ala., before transferring to another Goodyear tire store in Kansas City, Mo. He was later hired to manage a General Tire store in Tulsa, Okla.
In 1963, Mr. Ward returned to Missouri and founded McKnight Tire in Jefferson City. One year later he opened a second retail store in Columbia.
He was active in the business until 2014 and the family continues to operate the dealership.
In 2015 Mr. Ward was inducted into the Missouri Tire Industry Hall of Fame. He received many other awards throughout his lifetime for business as well as personal achievements.
He is survived by sons Tony McKnight, Tim McKnight and Alan Barnes; daughters Gail Bise and Tina Chambers; sister Ruby McClellan; and several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Calling hours are set for 10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 11 at Parker-Millard Funeral Services in Columbia. Condolences may be left online for the family at ParkerMillard.com