LAS VEGAS—Raymond P. “Gus” Hawkinson Jr., 71, former president and CEO of retreading equipment manufacturer Paul E. Hawkinson Co., died in Las Vegas July 10 of complications from a stroke.
Hawkinson's death was reported July 11 by Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Retread Tire Association and a friend of Hawkinson's.
A longtime board member of the American Retreaders Association, Hawkinson also was a member of the International Tire and Rubber Association. Both were predecessor organizations of the Tire Industry Association, which, in 2010 recognized Hawkinson with induction into its Hall of Fame for his contributions to the retreading industry.
Hawkinson was a pioneer in the retreading industry, leading his family-owned company into developing the first non-destructive testing standards for the industry, according to the RTA. He received the patent for those standards in 1981.
His technical expertise was a valuable resource to the ARA's members at a time when that association was the only technical support for independent retreaders, TIA said in a July 12 news release.
“When the retread industry started consolidating, he strongly supported the pursuit of commercial tire dealers and ITRA's early training efforts that ultimately led to TIA's current training and certification programs,” TIA said.
TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield said Hawkinson was a man of vital importance to the retreading industry, politically as well as technically.
“I've known Gus for more than 30 years, and you'll never meet anyone more passionate about supporting the independent retreader,” Littlefield said. “Whenever we had a retread issue on Capitol Hill, he was the first one to lead the charge in defense of retreading.”
Born in Ogden, Utah, on April 6, 1945, Hawkinson grew up in Minneapolis and attended Mankato State University. He is survived by a brother, John A. Hawkinson; three sisters, Mary H. Temple, Paula H. Rooks and Karen L. Bicknell; and many nieces and nephews.