PACIFIC GROVE, Calif.—Longtime retread industry advocate Harvey Brodsky died Sept. 17 at age 81, succumbing to complications associated with lung cancer.
Brodsky, founder of the Retread Tire Association in 2010 and head of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau for nearly 30 years prior to that, was diagnosed with the disease in March.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Brodsky served in the U.S. Army in post-World War II France.
After leaving the Army, Brodsky relocated to California and opened an upholstery business — a trade he'd learned from his father—in Los Angeles, eventually gaining a reputation, and clientele, with the Hollywood celebrity crowd, according to Jeffrey Parks, his successor as managing director of the RTA.
Brodsky's entrée to the tire industry was in the early 1970s as a sales representative for Lodi Super Mold Co. In 1978 he joined Big O Tires' western division, and in 1980/81 was offered the job as the managing director for the-then nascent TRIB.
In that position, Brodsky traveled the world promoting the benefits of retreading and defending the industry vigorously against any attack, including "educating" newspaper editors on the negative connotations associated with using "retread" to describe someone or something of lower value substituting for someone or something else.
He was elected to the International Tire & Rubber Association's Rubber Industry Hall of Fame in 2000. That honor was carried over to the Tire Industry Association's when ITRA and the Tire Association of North America merged in 2001.
Brodsky was forced out as the head of TRIB in October 2010 by that body's board of directors, citing what they considered compelling factual circumstances that necessitated a change in TRIB's leadership. That led him to start the RTA to carry on what he considered compelling work on behalf of the industry.
In remarks posted on the RTA website, Parks noted that one of Brodsky's many sayings has become a guidepost for RTA—"Always be better than you need to be." He also was fond of saying, "There's never a wrong time to do the right thing, and there's never a right time to do the wrong thing."
He is survived by his wife Rona Halpern and two children. A Go Fund Me account was established earlier this summer to help with the medical bills.
Personal messages may be sent to: Rona Halpern, 900 Weldon Grove, Pacific Grove, Calif. 93950.