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Belle Tire’s Barnes Sr. Dies at Age 83


Donald Barnes Sr., who transformed Belle Tire from one store to a chain with more than 80 locations, died of kidney failure Monday in his Beverly Hills home. He was 83.

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The former owner of Belle Tire was born in Minneapolis and moved to Birmingham at age 12. He graduated from Birmingham High School and Michigan State University before beginning work with Cumberland, Md.-based Kelly Springfield Tire Co. as a salesman.

In 1969, Barnes bought a stake in Belle Tire, which was founded in 1922. Roughly a decade later, he owned the organization and eventually expanded Belle Tire from one location to 84 stores in Michigan and northern Ohio. The chain employed more than 1,200 workers.

Mr. Barnes retired in 1990, leaving his two sons, Donald Jr. and Robert, to run the company. Don Barnes III has since become the third generation of Barnes’ at the company, working as operations and marketing manager.

His hobbies included golf, fishing, traveling and spending time with family and friends at his houses in Traverse City, Mich., and Savannah, Ga.

Don Barnes Sr. is survived by his wife of 58 years, Margaret; three children, Don Jr., Robert and Suzanne; two brothers, Bruce and Bob; and 12 grandchildren.

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