Gilbert Neal, a past president of General Tire, died March 8, 2014, in Naples, Fla. He was 82.
Neal was born in Akron, Ohio, and graduated from The University of Akron. He worked for the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. for more than 25 years, beginning as a salesman and rising to president of Firestone Steel Products.
In 1984, Neal was named president of General Tire, and served in that capacity after the company was sold to Continental A.G. in 1987 until his retirement in 1989.
Neal and his wife, Barbara, retired to Naples in 1990. He maintained his connection to Akron through years of service on the board of directors of the First Bancorporation of Ohio, now known as FirstMerit Bank.
Neal was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years and his parents, Gilbert and Maude (Brown) Neal. He is survived by his sister, Agnes Webner; and his four children, Margaret Wallace and husband David, Beth Boyce and husband Craig, Gilbert W. Neal and wife Maryann, and David Neal and wife Staci. Neal also is survived by eight grandchildren.
“On behalf of everyone at Continental, our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Neal family on the passing of Gilbert Neal,” said Jochen Etzel, CEO for Continental Tire the Americas LLC. “Gilbert’s vision and leadership truly had an impact on General Tire, which remains a cornerstone of our company.
"He will be remembered for leading by example and his tremendous compassion for his employees. He will be missed.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association , Greater East Ohio Area Chapter, 70 West Streetsboro Street, Suite 201, Hudson, OH 44236 or online at www.alz.org/akroncantonyoungstown.
Calling hours will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Vi @ Bentley, West Clubhouse Auditorium, 561 Village Court Circle, Naples, FL 34110. A memorial service in celebration of Neal’s life will be held in Akron, Ohio, at a date to be announced in the near future.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.