AKRON (Aug. 20, 2009)—M.G. “Jerry” O'Neil, former president of General Tire & Rubber Co., died Aug. 18. He was 87.
O'Neil's father, W. O'Neil, founded the Akron-based tire maker in 1915. Jerry O'Neil began his 40-year career at the company with two of his brothers after their discharges from the military at the end of World War II.
The three brothers took over running the company after their father's death in 1960, with Jerry O'Neil serving as president at the Akron headquarters for the next 25 years. Under his watch, the company grew into a $3 billion entity with 44,000 employees.
In 1984 O'Neil oversaw restructuring efforts to form a holding company, GenCorp Inc., to manage the operations of the company's four major businesses—General Tire, DiversiTech General Inc., RKO and Aerojet. In 1987 Continental A.G. acquired the General Tire operations.
O'Neil was active in civic and charitable institutions, including serving twice as general chairman for the United Way/Red Cross campaign.
He is survived by his wife, Jean; 13 children and a stepdaughter; and 14 grandchildren.