Bruce Halle Leaves a Legacy to All of Us in the Tire Industry

Bob Ulrich
Posted on January 5, 2018
Bruce autographed his Tire Dealer of the Year cover for me. (Yes, I asked!)
Bruce autographed his Tire Dealer of the Year cover for me. (Yes, I asked!)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

That is a Bible passage Discount Tire founder Bruce Halle took to heart, a heart that, sadly, stopped beating yesterday, in the early morning of Jan. 4, 2018. He will miss the opening of his 1,000th store in May, but he would argue the real milestone is the more than 18,000 people who work for him.

When he was named Modern Tire Dealer’s Tire Dealer of the Year in 2014, I had the pleasure of getting to know him. He was a billionaire who never forgot his humble beginnings, or how his employees helped make him successful. “My people are part of my family,” he told me. That included their spouses and children. “I am really responsible for 60,000 or 70,000 people.”

He was always quick to reward hard work, which made him kind of a superstar among his store managers. And he was generous beyond his work. He and his wife established the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation to improve, as she explained, “the quality of individual lives by focusing on women and children issues such as homelessness, hunger, education, arts and culture, and health and medical research.”

There are too many other examples of his philanthropy to list here, and he probably wouldn’t have wanted me to make a big deal of them anyway.

After my story was published, he sent me a letter, which I keep in my scrapbook.

“Bob, your story about me and Discount Tire is wonderful,” he wrote. “There is no way I could have expected so much. You compliment me in so many ways. I will have to be very careful that my ego does not get in the way of common sense.”

As a former Tire Dealer of the Year, Bruce will always be a part of MTD’s extended family. Another family member, Dan Hennelly, who shared the Tire Dealer of the Year Award in 2013 with his wife, Diane, feels the same way.

“What an icon,” he said upon hearing of Bruce’s death. “What a great man. People in our industry should be proud they had the honor of being touched by a man we all learned from.”

I last saw Bruce at Discount Tire’s annual meeting at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the SEMA Show. I joked with him as he was cheering on the store managers and assistant store managers competing in the company’s Pit Crew Challenge.

He asked me to write a story about the event for our December issue, which I was happy to do. That is what family is all about. That is what Bruce Halle was all about.

Related Topics: B.O.B., Bruce Halle, Dan Hennelly, Discount Tire, MTD Tire Dealer of the Year, obituary

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 7 )
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  • Collin Chiu

     | about 7 days ago

    Greatest Boss I ever had and ever hope to have. Man among boys.

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