Peter Veldman, who died on March 3, 2014, one month away from his 88th birthday, has left behind a legacy that includes reshaping the tire business by bringing it into the online age.
Born on April 4, 1926, in Didam, the Netherlands, he immigrated to the United States in 1949 and served with the U.S. Army in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, where he received automotive training.
According to the 2009 book “Peter Veldman, Dutch Immigrant, American Entrepreneur” by Andrea Midgett, in 1956 he operated a Standard Oil service station in South Bend, Ind., where he pumped gas, checked oil and changed and balanced tires. He acquired a second facility in 1959 and called it Veldman’s Service Center, which grew to include 15 service bays in the 1960s. Through the late 1970s, the business continued to grow and succeed, with many of Veldman’s family members working at the station.
It was also during this time that Veldman’s tire business took off, with the station selling more tires than any other in northern Indiana. He founded The Tire Rack in 1979 in Indianapolis and put his son-in-law Mike Joines in charge. In 1982, the business began selling mail-order specialty tires, and it has experienced non-stop growth ever since.
By 1990, The Tire Rack closed its retail store to focus entirely on mail order and eventually online tire and wheel sales.
Veldman is survived by Wilma, his wife of 61 years, and children, Thomas (Anita) Veldman, David (Linda) Veldman, Connie (Michael) Joines, Sharon (Matthew) Edmonds, Marcia Veldman, Mark Veldman, 20 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will take place at the Kaniewski Funeral Home in South Bend on Wednesday, March 5, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held the following day at 10 a.m. at South Bend’s Christ the King Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Holy Cross Mission Center, P.O. Box 543, Notre Dame, IN 46556, or the Women's Care Center, 360 N. Notre Dame Ave., South Bend, IN 46617.
To send condolences, please visit, www.kaniewski.com.