It was already a sad, rainy day when I learned that Bill Floyd had died. I had known Bill and his amazing right-hand-wife Joan since early on in my tire career, a duo whose dynamic drive served the tire dealers of Ohio for decades.
Bill was 85 when he passed; Joan died in January 2009, taking with her a lot of the wind from Bill’s sails. He hung tough, though, buoyed by his many friends and his continuing efforts to support the Ohio Tire & Automotive Association, previously the Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association.
A tireman from the start, beginning his post World War II life with Seiberling and later with Polson, selling tires and tread rubber across his multi-state territories.
In his off hours, he stayed in the business. In the 1950s, he and a group of Akron-area tire dealers began to meet on a regular basis to share business ideas. In 1967, he helped that same group formalize as the Greater Akron Tire Dealers Association. Later he helped develop the Cleveland Tire Dealers Association. Those two later morphed into the Northeast Ohio Regional Tire Dealers Association.
He also became president of the Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, served on its board for years, and later became its executive director, a post he held until he “retired” in 1997. He never really retired, continuing to travel across the state with Joan to visit and support dealers and attend association events and meetings. He’d call every year to personally invite me to attend the state association conference and trade show, and I’d see him at every association golf outing.
I wrote a column about Bill and Joan and all state associations in November 2004. It touches on a lot of their accomplishments and extraordinary efforts over the years. You can read it here if you wish.
Bill was presented with the OTAA’s first Distinguished Service Award in 2012 – now named after him – but that recognition, frankly, came far too late. Both he and Joan well deserve places in the national Tire Industry Hall of Fame, and I hope my fellow HOF Committee mates will join me in welcoming them this year.
Bill is survived by two fine sons and a great daughter, six grandchildren and every man and woman in Ohio who made a living, slinging rubber. His smile, ever-present even as age wore him down, his attitude and his undying love for this business and his loving wife Joan will be missed.